Preview: Neuchatel Xamax

Well we’re back. It may not be competitive but Stoke are back on the pitch for preseason.

The lads have headed to Switzerland for a training camp ahead of the 17/18 season. Fans will be watching the preseason closely after what was a disappointing end to last season. With new arrivals and players leaving, Mark Hughes needs to build a squad that’s able to compete for a Europa League spot and make sure our pre-season effectively finishes before the season starts, and not one month in.

We are facing Neuchatel Xamax at the Tissot Arena, for those not being able to travel, Stoke will be live streaming the game on their website.

Who are Neuchatel Xamax? Well, named after legendary Swiss international, ‘Xam’ Max Abegglen, the team was formed in 1970 following the merger of FC Cantonal and FC Xamax. The team last won the Swiss Super League back in 1987 and then again in 1988. Following their triumph, the one and only owl faced Roy Hodgson took over, they never won the league again.

The team now feature in Switzerland’s second division, Challenge League, after they claimed the third division title of the Swiss Promotion League back in 2014/15.

The team’s golden era was back in the 80s when they constantly challenged for the league title and featured heavily in the Europa League.

Their last two games were preseason friendlies, a 2-0 to Basel and a 1-0 loss to FC Thun, now that brings back memories.

Stoke enter this tournament after selling club legend Walters to Burnley and the possibility of Whelan following suit will weigh heavily on the squad until replacements can be brought in. Mark Hughes has bought in experienced midfielder Darren Fletcher from rivals West Brom and also young defender, Josh Tymon, from Hull City.

Seeing these two turn out for the Potters will be refreshing but what really excites us at the BearPitTV is seeing Bojan pull on the red and white shirt again. Hughes will be experimenting with the squad during the tournament and this game will be no exception. With the quality level vastly different, Hughes is blessed with this opportunity but must guard against complacency as that will follow us into the start of the season.

Written by Benito Fisher 

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