Glenn Whelan believes Stoke City will offer a vastly-improved opponent for Bolton Wanderers in the Premier League on Wednesday.
The newly-promoted Potters were hammered 3-1 at the Reebok Stadium on the opening day of the season, with their hosts taking a three-goal lead inside 45 minutes before Ricardo Fuller grabbed a last-gasp consolation.
However, ahead of the midweek return fixture at the Britannia Stadium, Republic of Ireland midfielder Whelan feels that Stoke have benefitted from their shock Premier League debut.
"Going into the first game of the Premier League season and going 3-0 down was a wake-up call and showed us how hard it was going to be," Whelan told Sky Sports News.
"But now we are a better team for it and it will be a tougher game for Bolton."
Tony Pulis' squad are battling relegation, sitting second from bottom in the table, and they have been tipped to make an immediate return to the Championship.
But Whelan, who grabbed a late equaliser in Sunday's dramatic 2-2 draw at UEFA Champions League-chasing Aston Villa after coming off the substitutes' bench, is positive about his club's survival chances.
"You can't help what is said outside the football club," the former Manchester City and Sheffield Wednesday player added.
"But if you see the lads in the dressing room, we are more than confident of staying up.
"We have got some tough games coming up, but we're looking to get results."