You don’t have to look too far for an obvious connection between City and Stoke ahead of Saturday’s game.
A glance in the direction of the dugout at the Britannia Stadium at 3pm will give you a strong, current link between the sides as former City boss Mark Hughes faces off against his former charges.
Since guiding the Blues to a fifth place finish in 2008, Hughes has had spells at Fulham and QPR before taking the reins at Stoke in the summer.
Aged just 22, academy graduate Stephen Ireland won City’s Player of the Year Award in 2009, capping an impressive season in which he made 35 appearances and scored nine goals.
But the following term he slipped down the pecking order, and signed for Aston Villa in August 2010.
After some initial struggles at his new club, he turned his fortunes around to be voted the Aston Villa Supporters Player of the Year in 2012.
After it was made clear that opportunities would be limited in Paul Lambert’s new-look Villa outfit, Ireland was reunited with Mark Hughes, joining Stoke on a season-long loan on transfer deadline day.
Sheron scored 22 goals in 92 appearances after breaking through from the club’s Academy in 1990 and making his debut against Everton in 1991.
The striker’s best season for City came in 1992/93 when he struck up a formidable partnership with Niall Quinn, scoring 14 goals in the inaugural Premier League campaign.
The arrivals of Uwe Rosler and Paul Walsh pushed Sheron out to the fringes and he joined Norwich City for a season before arriving at Stoke City where was an unmitigated success, scoring 39 goals in 71 starts, including a brace in the final Potteries derby to be playing at the Victoria Ground.
Seaham-born forward Nigel Gleghorn made 34 league appearances in his sole season at Maine Road in 1988/1989 and scored seven goals.
From there, Gleghorn became a firm fans’ favourite at Birmingham City before joining Stoke three years and 142 appearances later.
At Stoke, he went on to win the Second Division title in 1992/93 and nearly won promotion to the Premier League 1996 but the Potters lost to Leicester City in the play-offs.
He left the Victoria Ground after appearing on 166 occasions in the league and now regularly appears on the radio talking about Manchester City.
World Cup winner Alan Ball did enjoy some success in his managerial career, most notably at Southampton where he helped to consolidate a Premier League position for in the nineties, but his tenures at Stoke and Manchester City were not quite so successful.
Despite spending a fortune on new acquisitions at Stoke, they were relegated to the third tier of English football in 1991 and he was sacked in March that year on their way to a disappointing 15th place finish.
His time at Maine Road wasn’t much happier, with Ball only lasting a year in charge as he led City down to Division One after a miserable tailspin in the 1995/96 season’s final months.
Join us on Friday for five more links between City and Stoke ahead of Saturday’s game.