Dear Pep,

Rumour has it, your team is visiting Stoke-on-Trent this lunch-time.

Unfortunately, the weather forecast says it’ll be a bit blustery for the game – with a possibility of rain in the second half, too.

But please don’t listen to all of the football experts who aren’t sure whether you can perform on a cold, wet Tuesday night at Stoke.

You see, these people are still stuck in the media-hype of five years ago, when the Britannia Stadium was  a tough place to visit and long hopeful balls into the night sky were a regular occurrence. So too, was the thought of leaving out one or two key players – you know, just in case they got injured in the bear-pit.

Nowadays, though, things have changed.

Heck, we don’t even play at the Britannia Stadium anymore.

You might even recognise a couple of players in our team. Bojan, of course, played for you at Barcelona (he wore number 11, if it helps). And Xherdan Shaqiri was deemed surplus to requirements during your time at Bayern.

Don’t expect long-balls, then.

If your scouting chaps were at the Riverside last week, you may have noticed we aren’t so good defensively. Yes, Erik Pieters and Phil Bardsley didn’t have too good a game, and Ryan Shawcross struggled on his return to the team following lengthy absences last year – but things should be different this weekend, so don’t be too surprised if we’re a more cohesive unit – even with Shay Given in goal again!

I know you want to leave the Potteries with a comfortable win, no doubt after having 70-plus percent possession at the end of 90 minutes.

But don’t be too surprised if you don’t leave with 3 points. Afterall, the Cityzens have only won once on their last nine visits to the Potteries…