Potters to lay down Championship marker

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Stoke failed to live up to their tag as Championship favourites last season but could thrive by being slightly under the radar this term.

Nathan Jones has had a full pre-season under his belt after taking over the managerial reins in January, and he has not held back in remoulding his squad by clearing out the deadwood and bringing in proven Championship quality.

Stoke to beat QPR @ 4/5

The Potters have been handed a friendly start to the new campaign against a QPR side expected to struggle. They will be hoping to build on a positive pre-season that saw them win three times before losing narrowly to Leicester.

These two sides shared the spoils during both meetings last term, including a 0-0 draw at Loftus Road in March, and that result summed up Stoke’s season as they averaged less than a goal a game and scored fewer times than relegated Rotherham.

However, Jones has addressed that issue by signing a proven goalscorer in Lee Gregory as well as the creative force of Nick Powell, and both could come to the fore on Saturday.

WBA to beat Forest and both to score @ 17/4

Like Stoke, West Brom will be hoping it is second time lucky as they bid to return to the Premier League and the Baggies could well make a fast start against Forest.

Both teams have new managers in charge, with Slaven Bilic taking over at Albion and Sabri Lamouchi coming in at Forest.

If last season is anything to go by, this should be an entertaining fixture as both meetings last term ended in score draws.

However, the Baggies’ recent record at the City Ground suggests they could get all three points as they have only lost on one of their last six visits.

Reading to beat Sheffield Wednesday @ 31/20

It is ultimately likely to be a season of struggle once again for Reading but they have a great opportunity to make a positive start when they welcome managerless Sheffield Wednesday to the Madejski.

The Owls are still working their way through the wreckage of losing manager Steve Bruce to Newcastle, and even though a familiar face in Lee Bullen has taken temporary charge, it could be a tough start for the South Yorkshire outfit.

Reading will also be looking to build on their relatively strong end to last season as they lost just three of their final 13 league games, suggesting they will edge what is likely to be a cagey encounter.

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