Reading captain Jobi McAnuff has urged the club to follow the Barclays Premier League survival blueprint set out by Stoke.
The Royals start the new season at home to Tony Pulis' side as they return to the Premier League for the first time since they were relegated in 2008. Stoke were promoted to the top flight in the same year and have stayed there ever since. McAnuff believes Pulis and the Stoke board have approached the task of developing the club in the right way.
"The way they have done it has been a gradual approach," he said.
"I think if you look at them now to when they came up it is chalk and cheese, but I think if you break that down in the seasons gone past it has been a gradual process and they have added bit by bit.
"You now look at the players they are attracting and they are an established Premier League team now. Going up into the Premier League that is a model we can look at, hopefully achieve what they have done and go beyond that. I'm sure that is the aim with everyone at the club."
Reading secured the npower Championship title with a blistering run of form at the end of last season and McAnuff is hoping that could lift the players going into the new campaign.
He said: "We've got to use that end to the season we had and that form and momentum it created to hopefully give us a platform going into the new season. We can't rely on it and think it is going to equate to any points. It is going to be a tough year but an enjoyable one.
"It has been a long pre-season and we have had some good work put in and in the last few weeks you're really champing at the bit to get into it. This week in particular the boys are flying around in training, trying to make their mark and get into the team for Saturday."
Boss Brian McDermott has added six signings to the squad that secured promotion with Pavel Pogrebnyak, Adrian Mariappa and Chris Gunter moving to the Madejski Stadium and former Royal Nicky Shorey making a return. McAnuff has been at the club since 2009 and believes the battle for places in McDermott's side can only benefit the team.
"We've got competition all over the squad now in every position, no one can put their hand up and say they are a dead cert to get into the team and I think that is healthy. I think it is what you need to be successful," he said.