But manager Gary Rowett has brought in five signings so far this summer and should go all guns blazing from the onset to have an assault on promotion.
Stoke attacker Ibrahim Afellay is expected to face another long spell on the sidelines after suffering another knee injury.
Otherwise, Rowett has a full squad to take to Elland Road for the encounter against Leeds United, with latest addition Ashley Williams expected to be on the bench after signing from Everton on a season-long loan.
Rowett expects Jack Butland to remain at the club despite their relegation to the Championship. Butland has been one of the Premier League’s top goalkeepers in recent seasons and could have a mighty say in Stoke’s promotion if he stays put at the club.
Bauer has made a considerable impact at Stoke since arriving in January. He is naturally a full-back and he contributes to the attack as well.
Shawcross’s experience, leadership and solidity would surely make him one of the best defenders in the second tier of English football.
Martins Indi made just 17 league appearances last season, having struggled with an injury. Now fully fit and running, the Dutch defender has all the tools to excel in the Championship.
Pieters may lack the pace as needed for a full-back but he possesses solid experience and can read the game so well.
Fletcher seems like the ideal fit to start as the holding midfielder. With his array of passing, the veteran can boss the midfield and use his experience to good effect.
Allen’s decision to stay put at Stoke came as a real boost as the diminutive midfielder could have a big part to play in the club’s promotion charge.
Energetic and hard-working, Peter Etebo is a fantastic addition for Stoke.
Tom Ince has dropped down to the Championship and could be an impactful player for the Potters. His pace, dynamism and directness can cause all sorts of problems to Leeds’ defence on Sunday.
McClean’s unpredictability could make him a valuable asset for Stoke. The winger may frustrate with his lack of end product but is never shy of taking on defenders and pulling the trigger.
Afobe possesses blistering pace to trouble Leeds defenders but he needs regular supply from his teammates to thrive as a lone striker.
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