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Preview: Chester FC vs. Stoke City - prediction, team news

:Headline: Preview: Chester FC vs. Stoke City - prediction, team news:
Sports Mole previews Tuesday's friendly clash between Chester FC and Stoke City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Stoke City commence their pre-season campaign with a trip to Chester FC on Thursday night.

While the Championship outfit are playing their first fixture of the month, their National League North opponents gave a positive account of themselves against another EFL side at the weekend.

Match preview

Although Steven Schumacher was able to successfully avoid relegation in 2023-24, he is under no illusions that a promotion push is expected this time around.

On the back of ending the campaign with three consecutive wins, there is momentum on Stoke's side, and Schumacher will want to maintain that over the coming weeks.

This is the first of five away matches in a row, the others coming against Cork City, Crewe Alexandra, Stockport County and Bolton Wanderers, with a home showdown against Dutch side AZ Alkmaar concluding their preparations.

As it stands, their three summer additions have come at the back, with goalkeeper Viktor Johansson, Norwich City centre-back Ben Gibson and Sint-Truiden defender Eric Bocat all making the switch to the Bet365 Stadium.

Further signings will be made in due course, but the expectation is that there will be a fresh look to this team once the start of the next second-tier campaign comes around.

Meanwhile, Chester are preparing for another campaign in the sixth tier having missed out on the National League playoffs last time out.

Although 69 points came from 46 outings, the North-West outfit fell six point short, leaving Calum McIntyre to try to put together a squad capable of improving on that 10th-placed showing.

Chester have already played one fixture ahead of next season, going down at home to Stockport by a 3-2 scoreline at the weekend.

This is the headline act of their schedule, with fixtures to come against FC Isle of Man, Lancaster City, Altrincham and and Macclesfield Town.

Chester FC friendly form:
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Team News

With over a week of training under their belts, the expectation is that Schumacher will use as many senior Stoke players as possible.

As well as wanting to integrate the three new signings, Schumacher may also wish to look at some younger talent, particularly Sol Sidibe who has turned down interest from other clubs to pen a professional contract.

Of Chester's new arrivals, only goalkeeper Cameron Mason and midfielder Jack Bainbridge started the meeting with Stockport.

Several others were used off the substitutes' bench, with only two outfield players completing the 90 minutes. More of the same will be expected for this match.

We say: Chester FC 1-3 Stoke City

With Chester having some miles in their legs, we expect them to push the Potters all the way in front of their own fans. However, at some point, the superior quality of the visitors may come through, earning them a victory in the process.

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