WHEN YOU STUDY Yeovil Town’s modest history and consider their restricted resources, it puts a perspective on their continued survival in League One... a minor miracle as they begin their eighth consecutive campaign in English football’s 3rd tier.
As the Glovers have spent the majority of their years playing outside the Football League, however, Stoke City have never faced them in a competitive fixture.
The visit to Somerset will be a trip down memory lane for for two members of Tony Pulis’ squad, though – goalkeeper Asmir Begovic made 16 appearances there on loan from Portsmouth back in 2008, while Marc Wilson turned out twice in a short spell in 2006.
Other players to have donned both colours include Don Clegg, Tommy Walker, Adam Rooney and Peter Sweeney.
Tonight’s match will take place at Huish Park, Yeovil’s ground for 92 years having moved there in 1920 from Pen Mill Athletics Club. Its current capacity is 9,665.
During their early non-league history, Yeovil forged a reputation as FA Cup giant-killers – a tradition that started in 1949 when they beat top division Sunderland 2-1 in the Fourth Round.
Their league form fluctuated, winning the Southern League three times in the middle of the 20th century but never making that leap to the professional game.
A season after winning the FA Trophy in 2002, though, they finally made that elusive promotion by storming to the Football Conference title, finishing the campaign unbeaten at home.
Riding on the crest of a wave, the Glovers finished 8th in their debut season before winning promotion to the newly-formed League One in 2005.
They have stayed there ever since, reaching the Play-Off Final in 2007, only to lose 2-0 to Blackpool at Wembley.
Former manager Gary Johnson returned to the hot-seat in January this year, and helped steer the club away from the relegation zone.
This summer, Johnson has seen no fewer than 13 players leave, while bringing in 11 of his own to try and stamp his authority on the playing squad.
The changes appear to have had a positive impact on pre-season, with the club unbeaten in their seven fixtures so far.
Their latest match was at Newport County on Friday, where they triumphed 3-1 thanks to goals from Reuben Reid, Nathan Ralph and Gozie Ugwu. They also thrashed fellow West Country outfit Plymouth Argyle 5-0 back in July.