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Having looked decidedly vulnerale at the back recently, Al Hain-Cole expects the Potters to contest an open match with a Tigers team looking to put league form behind them

Stoke City will be desperate for respite from their poor Premier League form when they welcome Hull City to the Bet365 Stadium in Wednesday’s EFL Cup clash.

With just one point to their name after five matches, Mark Hughes’ men are available at 10/11 (1.91) with Betway to record a morale-boosting victory in this cup tie.

The Tigers achieved their best ever season in this competition by reaching the quarter-finals last time out and are on offer at 100/30 (4.33) to make it through to the last 16 by coming out on top here.

Two of the last four meetings between the sides have resulted in draws, and you can get odds of 12/5 (3.40) on them taking this one into extra-time after a deadlocked 90 minutes.

Having guided the Potters to a Premier League high of ninth place in each of his three seasons at the helm, Hughes has been rightfully praised for taking the team to another level than predecessor Tony Pulis.

While additions such as Marko Arnautovic, Xherdan Shaqiri and Bojan have certainly helped in developing a more attractive attacking style, recent signs indicate the strong defensive foundations built by Pulis have begun to erode.

Although clues were detectable during the second half of last season, when they conceded 22 goals in their final 10 league without keeping a single clean sheet, the start to this campaign has cruelly exposed a fragility at the back.

Without a clean sheet to their name and having conceded four goals in three of their last four league matches, the hosts certainly cannot be relied upon to keep things tight at the back on current form.

Nevertheless, after putting four past Stevenage in the last round, they will be confident of having some joy at the other end of the pitch against a team that has let in six goals in their last three games themselves.

All things considered, even money (2.00) quotes look like excellent value on over 2.5 goals being scored between two defensively vulnerable teams hoping to put their recent league form behind them.

Over 2.5 goals at evens (2.00) with Betway

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