Tony Pulis has spent the last three years assembling a Stoke team that can compete with the Premier League's best.
On Sunday, against Manchester United, they will be given the ultimate test.
Since returning to the top-flight the Potters have not managed to claim a single point in four meetings with Sir Alex Ferguson's men.
Indeed, when you analyse those matches in greater details, the task looks even more daunting -12 goals conceded and none scored.
A stuttering Stoke seem to have recovered their poise of late though and have claimed 10 points from their last five league games.
It is these performances, and the quality of his summer recruits, that lends Pulis an air of optimism ahead of the clash at the Britannia on Sunday.
"We think we have improved as a team," he said.
"I think Pennant and Etherington have got real good pace down the sides of the pitch and obviously Kenwyne and Jon Walters have done well up front.
"We've got more in the team to cause people problems, so it is just whether we can perform on the day to our maximum - and hoping that we get a little bit of good luck and good fortune, and that United are maybe just off it a little bit."
Despite being at home, Pulis concedes that the ball retention skills of United may mean that for long periods they will be chasing the game.
"We recognise who we are playing - one of the great teams in this country," added Pulis.
"We will have to play to our maximum to get anything out of the game, but we won't be talking about anything else apart from what we can do. That is the way we always approach it at the Britannia.
"We are not playing away, we are playing at home and we have to try and dictate the game.
"We know Manchester United will have a lot of possession of the ball - it is just making sure that when we get it we can affect the game."
What will the outcome be?
Man Utd win