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For a short while, Stoke seemed destined to navigate their pre-season period undefeated before the new Championship campaign begins, but Wigan ensured that would remain a mere fantasy in their midweek encounter at the DW Stadium.
Tom Ince found the back of the net for Stoke after Callum Lang had drawn first blood for Wigan, but summer signing Stephen Humphrys won the game for the Latics in the 81st minute to condemn Michael O’Neill‘s side to their first defeat of pre-season.
The story of Wolverhampton Wanderers under Bruno Lage so far has been win one, lose one, as the Molineux outfit kicked off a taxing period in Spain with victory over Real Betis before coming up short against Las Palmas.
Wolves’ stint in Marbella ended on a high note, however, as goals from Chem Campbell and returning centre-forward Raul Jimenez saw them travel back to England with a 2-1 win in the bag versus Saudi Arabian side Al Shabab, who had taken the lead on the day through ex-Wolves loanee Alfred N’Diaye.
While Jimenez’s highly-anticipated return on the pitch has been a truly welcome sight for Wolves supporters, the futures of some of their most prized assets continue to dominant talk off the pitch, as uncertainty lingers over Adama Traore and Ruben Neves‘s stints at the club.
Despite coming up short against the League One outfit, Stoke marched to three successive victories over Aston Villa, Crewe Alexandra and Linfield by an aggregate score of 11-2 earlier in July, and a 1-1 draw with Hibernian kicked off what has been a respectable exhibition period.
The Potters resume competitive action on August 7 when they face Reading at the bet365 Stadium in their Championship opener, so the club’s up-and-coming academy prospects may have to take back seats this weekend as O’Neill seeks to find a winning formula with a settled XI.