Stoke City manager Mark Hughes will welcome former club Manchester City to the Britannia on Saturday.
Hughes' move to Stoke was his latest attempt to restore some credibility after his sacking by Manchester City in December 2009, and the Potters (2-0-1) have started the season brightly under their new manager. Two wins and a more palatable style of football have led many to suggest Stoke could be on for their best league finish this season under the guidance of Hughes, but the Welshman is fully aware Saturday will be his new team's biggest challenge.
"It's a big test," said Hughes. "But we're playing well and are encouraged by what we have seen. You know at some point you are going to be facing one of the top teams in Europe. It will also be a good test of where we feel we are and where we can get to.
"When you've won three on the break you just want your next game to come, so the internationals have been frustrating."
Man City (2-0-1) suffered a shock 3-2 defeat to Cardiff City in their second game of the season, but regrouped with a 2-0 victory over Hull City before the international break and remain confident of challenging for the title under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.
"New players have joined the team and we also have a new coach, so we have all the ingredients to win the title again," said left-back Gael Clichy. "Having a new coach is the most important thing because everybody wants to work hard to show they all deserve a place in the squad.
"Of course, we had a great team two years ago and also last year and now, with four new players who have just arrived, we have an even better group. There are some great qualities in our team - Jesus Navas, Fernandinho is working really hard in midfield, and up front we have Negredo and Stevan Jovetic, who are really talented players. So overall, I think the team has a good balance. We just have to work, listen to what the coach wants us to do and the success we can bring the trophy to the club at the end of the season."
Stoke have injury doubts over Kenwyne Jones (ankle), Charlie Adam (back), Glenn Whelan (hamstring) and Jamie Ness (hip). Man City have concerns over the fitness of David Silva (hip) and Micah Richards (hamstring), but Vincent Kompany (groin) and Martin Demichelis (knee) are definitely out.
City took four points off Stoke in the Premier League and knocked them out of the FA Cup last season. Pablo Zabaleta, Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero scored in a 3-0 league win at the Etihad, while Zabaleta scored again in the 1-0 fourth-round cup win. However, Peter Crouch's effort earned the Potters a point in this fixture at the Britannia.
There have been eight meetings between these clubs in the last three seasons, and Stoke has yet to register a win. City have won five, with the remaining three ending all-square. However, City have not won a Premier League game at the Britannia in five attempts, with the last four meetings ending 1-1.