Michael O'Neill utterly transformed the fortunes of Stoke City when he arrived in November, impressively steering them to safety during a season that saw the Potters linger in and out of the bottom three.
The former Northern Ireland manager has recruited well this summer too, bringing in a much-needed left-back in Morgan Fox, a former Premier League winner in John Obi Mikel and Sheffield Wednesday's top goal scorer of last season, Steven Fletcher.
That is why the bookies have placed the club among the top five favourites to achieve promotion this campaign.
Bristol City have not been tipped for such heights but that doesn't mean they won't pose a threat.
A professional 2-1 victory over league new boys Coventry City last weekend showed that they are not here just to make up the numbers.
Some solid summer signings have only bolstered their chances of a good finish, with an abundance of top-level experience throughout the squad.
Stoke City vs Bristol City Head-to-Head
Bristol City have lost just one of its last five meetings with Stoke and have not tasted defeat at the Bet365 Stadium since April 2008.
They beat the Potters 2-1 in this fixture last year before earning a 1-1 draw at home in July.
That being said, Stoke have won 25 of the 56 games between the pair historically – nine more than their counterparts.
Stoke City vs Bristol City Team News
Stoke will be without Joe Allen and Thibaud Verlinden who are still recovering from long-term injuries while Ryan Shawcross remains sidelined due to a pre-season knock.
Injured: Joe Allen, Thibaud Verlinden, Ryan Shawcross
Famara Diedhou is likely to start despite not signing a new contract with the club yet with his current deal running out within the year. French club Dijon are reportedly interested in acquiring the attacker's services following his 14-goal feat in the 2019-20 campaign.
Centre-half Tomas Kalas picked up what looks like a bad shoulder injury in Bristol's 4-0 win over Northampton in the League Cup on Wednesday evening and looks to be out for this game.
Injured: Callum O'Dowda, Joe Williams, Liam Walsh, Jay Dasilva
Doubtful: Tomas Kalas, Joe Morrell
Stoke City vs Bristol City Predicted XI
Stoke City predicted XI (3-5-2): Adam Davies, Tommy Smith, James Chester, Danny Batth, Bruno Martins Indi, Morgan Fox, Nick Powell, John Obi Mikel, Sam Clucas, Sam Vokes, Tyrese Campbell
Bristol City predicted XI (3-5-2): Daniel Bentley, Zak Vyner, Nathan Baker, Taylor Moore, Jack Hunt, Tommy Rowe, Han-Noah Massengo, Andraes Weimann, James Paterson, Famara Diedhou, Nahki Wells.
Stoke City vs Bristol City Prediction
Stoke will want to get the home campaign off to a good start, and it is against teams like Bristol City that they need to win if they are to be within a shout of promotion.
Bristol City are typically hard to break down, though, so the game won't be straight forward for the Staffordshire outfit.
Either way, defenders on either side are going to have a tough afternoon but Stoke City is expected to edge this encounter at home.
Prediction: Stoke City 2-1 Bristol CityPublished 17 Sep 2020, 22:05 IST