MARK HUGHES signalled his Capital One Cup ambitions by fielding an incredibly strong line-up against Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park on Wednesday evening.
The Welshman made seven changes to his side from the one that were beaten 3-1 at Arsenal in front of the live television cameras at the weekend.
As expected, Thomas Sorensen resumed his cup duties in goal, deputising for regular starter Asmir Begovic.
There were also places in the side for Spanish Under 21 star Marc Muniesa, winger Jermaine Pennant, Glenn Whelan and Wilson Palacios.
Peter Crouch got the nod to start off up-front, with Kenwyne Jones, who bagged a hat-trick against Walsall in the previous round, having to make do for a spot on the bench.
Deadline day signing Stephen Ireland was also handed his first Potters start following two cameo roles against Manchester City and Arsenal, whilst fellow new boy Marko Arnautovic also started.
Stoke City: Sorensen; Cameron, Shawcross (c), Huth, Muniesa; Ireland, Palacios, Whelan; Pennant, Crouch, Arnautovic. Subs: Butland, Wilkinson, Adam, Walters, Assaidi, Etherington, Jones.