Times are hard right now for Huddersfield Town. Goals are hard to come by, as was the equation last season, it's now 23 blanks in 41 games since Town were promoted back to the top flight of football. 

So what a perfect time for a League Cup tie that neither side will particularly care for. Yet this game against Stoke has a similar feel to the replay against Birmingham in the FA Cup last season, one for opportunities to impress and that replay at St Andrews saw Town turn on the style that the squad has to score some goals and get us out of an awful rut which we had in January.

Similar is required on Tuesday night, as Town need to go to Everton on Saturday to show some goal scoring intent. Ultimately, that's what keeps sides in the Premier League and Stoke is the perfect chance for our new signings to prove their worth, while players such as Danny Williams and Erik Durm can stake their case to be involved in the match day squad.

Something positive needs to come from this game though, Town fans need something to shout about after the opening three games and their already some fracturing of the support after Saturday's dull 0-0 draw with relegation favourites Cardiff.

Also, if something positive doesn't come our way, we may have to endure Adrian Durham and his TalkSport idiocy stirring up Town sacking Wagner for an uninspiring British manager who apparently knows the league, despite achieving the square sum of sod all. 

As mentioned in our Cardiff review, we need a return to 'No Limits' and some of that 'Terrier Identity' that got us to where we are today. 


Throughout this season, Thrice Champions will be getting the views of opposition fans, bloggers and podcasters so you know the story behind the club they know so much about.

Ahead of our League Cup tie with Stoke City, we spoke with Pete Smith, who is a sports reporter at Stoke-on-Trent Live. 

TC: How have Stoke so far adapted to life back in the Championship?

PS: It's been frenetic. Gary Rowett has made nine signings, eight who will be first team starters you'd think, and the games have come thick and fast. So there's been no time for finding your feet, and that was probably what they needed. 

The opposition have been unforgiving - but, thankfully, not as clinical as Premier League sides in the final third to help squirrel away a couple of points from draws. We all left a 3-0 home defeat to Wigan a week ago wondering what on earth was going to happen next. For 25 minutes Stoke played like a promotion team, had a bit of bad luck with a penalty call and disallowed goal and then played like relegation candidates!

Everyone is feeling a lot better after a win in the next game over a poor Hull team. It was only the third win of 2018 and you'll know how that can be a drain on confidence. Hopefully that's a turning point.

TC: Is Gary Rowett trying to turn the Stoke mentality from a negative attitude to a positive one. If so how hard is that to do?

PS: Yes and very hard. He's been quite clear that he wanted a big churn of players to help make the shift. He's been able to bring players in but at the moment, too few have gone out and some of last season's fringe players are even further down the pecking order, which isn't good.

For the most part Stoke have been prepared to roll up their sleeve and get stuck in but confidence has been a major issue. When they score they suddenly look like a better team. When they concede they look like the weight of the world is on their shoulders.

TC: What are Stoke supporters thoughts so far on Tom Ince?

Ince was the stand out player in the first three or four games and has been unfortunate not to get on the score sheet at least once. A decent shot from range, he's direct and you'd expect him to get a few goals this season. Positive so far. 

TC: Where do Stoke see this league Cup tie in terms of priority?

PS: The league is obviously, massively, the priority but when wins have been so scarce no one is going to underplay the importance of some kind of momentum.

The vast majority would take a defeat tomorrow with a win on Saturday at West Brom, I'm sure, but winning the second might be easier if they've got a buzz from winning the first, if that makes sense.

TC: What side are we likely to see against Town?

PS: Good question. It's fifficult to second guess Rowett on this one. I'd expect a full debut for Adam Federici in goal then there's about 10 spaces up for debate.

I'll predict another debut for young centre-back Harry Souttar and a run out in central midfield for Denmark youth international Lasse Sorensen. All or none of those could happen. Ince will probably miss out with a hamstring problem.

Predicted XI: Federici, Bauer, Shawcross, Souttar, Pieters, Allen, Etebo, McClean, Bojan, Berahino, Afobe.

TC: Who are the danger men Town fans should look out for?

PS: Saido Berahino is trying to rebuild his reputation and at the moment he's taking small steps in the right direction. He's playing in more of a deeper role than previously and that first goal (he hasn't scored since joining from West Brom in January 2017) has got to come sooner or later. Surely!

Summer signing Peter Etebo has got a crackerjack shot from midfield. Having said that, maybe both of those will be saved for the weekend.

TC: What are your thoughts on Town so far this season?

PS: It's going to be tough, isn't it? A long run with not enough wins or goals can really drag you down as we know too well. Man City will spank plenty more teams but drawing at home to Cardiff? It looks like they're going to have to fight very, very hard for every win.

TC: Who are you looking forward to seeing in a Town shirt at the Bet365 stadium on Tuesday?

PS: Schindler, if he starts.

TC: What sort of reception do you expect Sobhi to get? Has he been missed at the club if so why?

PS: I'm afraid it'll probably be a bit 'meh' to be honest. He came on a wave of enthusiasm but that had fluttered away by the summer, overshadowed by a team in decline.

He seemed like a nice fella and he showed glimpses of some exciting skill but no one was throwing themselves in front of the bus when he left.