Stoke winger Jermaine Pennant hopes home advantage in next week's Europa League clash with Hajduk Split will compensate for being behind their rivals in terms of preparations.
The Croatians kicked off their league campaign on Tuesday while the Potters will play their fourth pre-season friendly against Newcastle Town on Wednesday night. But being at home - where Stoke are so formidable - in the first leg of their third-round Europa League qualifier should help balance things out according to Pennant.
"Playing them at home first will be an advantage," the midfielder told The Sentinel.
"Hopefully we can get a win at the Britannia and a nice, comfortable lead to take over there.
"They are the best team in the group of teams we could have drawn but no team likes to come to the Britannia - top teams like Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal have all struggled.
"Although they will probably have a head start we've still got three games before we play them so by July 28 we'll be ready."