Stoke City are the bookies’ fifth favourites for promotion but what do the people who see them three times a week really reckon of their chances this season?
The Championship data analysts give Stoke an 11 per cent chance of a top two spot and a 31 per cent chance of a play-off spot.
Supporters seem more cautious, on the back of some biting disappointments over the last few years, to stick their necks so far over the line.
Without further ado, here is a selection of the comments from fans who have been getting in touch with their appraisals and predictions.
Gordon Champ: It does make me laugh. A few weeks ago we were no good, the goalkeeper was the worst player in the world after 45 minutes at Swansea and there’s no way we’d be anywhere near the play offs. No doubt after a couple of bad results we’ll be the worst team in the division again!
Alan Davies: I think there is an outside chance, mainly due to the depth of squad we have compared to some of our rivals, who may fade due to lack of replacements for injuries (that already seems to have been a factor in Reading’s recent decline in form).
We have arguably had our two most influential players from last season missing for all/most games so far and have coped well.
We have sorted out our goalkeeping woes and stiffened the back line. We have quality strikers who can threaten even with minimal service. If we can become more dominant in midfield and control games better then we could be in with a shout.
Either way, we are a much stronger side this season than last, heading in the right direction.
Len-Mavis Barker: Very inconsistent at times. When they are winning I’m on the edge of the seat. We seem to struggle when they get in front at times. I think when Allen is back we will see a bit more consistency.
John Martin: I think we have a fair to middling chance of being in top six/challenging for promotion, especially when some key players are back in squad but it depends if defence is consistent enough.
Don’t want to be negative but already lost three after quarter of season so at that rate 12 losses will be too many for us to be in with a shout. Yes we look to have more goals in us now but no good if goals conceded at same current rate.
Josef Griffiths: Some things have gone massively against us in games when we probably would have otherwise won. Only teams to outplay us are Swansea and Bristol City. Rest of the games should have all been wins.
Alan Wilton: At this stage of the season, everyone has a chance.
Paul Heath: Will be an unbelievable season just to make the top six. I expect anywhere from first to 10th.
Lee Mitchell: Hang on a minute. Let’s get to the safety mark points first.
Harry Boardman: I’ve got a bet on them going up.
Dave Jones: Whatever the outcome this season, this side would not be competitive in the Premier League, to see fringe players given a chance is pleasing, not being negative just realistic.
Tony Barker: The higher we go up the table can only give the players a big boost so let’s hope we continue.
Steve Bentley: Maybe one season too soon?
David Dunn: I know we want to go up to the Premier League like moths to a flame but when we do return what happens? We will be probably involved in a relegation scrap and let’s be realistic we ain’t going to finish in the top six.
So until we do return to the promised land let’s enjoy this league where anyone can beat anyone. It’s a lot more exciting in some ways, knowing that we have a great chance of beating anyone in this division.
Mark Johnson: I think this season is too soon for promotion. Still too much deadwood which is stopping MON from spending any money in transfer market. Needs another season and a few more transfer windows to develop the team.
Billy Brennan: This current side could not compete in the premier, hopefully a top six place then push on from there. No point in getting promotion to come straight back down as is looking likely with West Bromwich Albion.
Mick Munday: We’ve just go to stay consistent and, unless we get a glut of injuries, the world’s our lobster.