Fletcher, Mikel, Shawcross, Gregory, Verlinden – Stoke City injury latest ahead of trip to Wycombe


Michael O’Neill is bringing Ryan Shawcross into his Stoke City squad for the trip to Wycombe – but is without Steven Fletcher and Lee Gregory while John Obi Mikel is a major doubt.

Club captain Shawcross has come through two appearances for the under-23s unscathed, including last night’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, as he builds up his return to fitness following a very tough 18 months.

Thibaud Verlinden, who hasn’t played since a knee ligament injury in February, will also travel with the group to Wycombe.

O’Neill said: “We want our players back. We’ve had a bit of an injury stretch at the minute where we are down four or five arguably key players who have started a lot for us this season. We obviously have the goalkeeping situation as well.

“The squad is being tested at this minute in time and getting players like Ryan and Joe (Allen) back, who are very experienced, will be a bonus.

“The good thing for Ryan is for himself. He was finding it difficult after these games when he would either pick up a secondary injury or feel a tightness or stiffness that was then not allowing him to build up a rhythm really.

Video Loading

Video Unavailable

“We’ve now had a consistent three or four week period where Ryan has trained every day if possible, although the training week is truncated because of the number of games, and we’ve managed to get him through two games.

“He will part of the squad on Wednesday night, which is the reason we took him off for the last 20 minutes on Monday. We didn’t need him to play that.

“We want the squad as strong as possible. I think this season we will always have players out and it’s quite difficult. Harry Souttar just dropped out at a moment’s notice and will miss four or five games because of the Covid situation. Having numbers will hopefully help us.”

Verlinden has been with the under-23s all season but, with training tailored around so many matches, it can be difficult to force a way into a manager’s plans.

“Thibaud’s been back longer really,” said O’Neill. “He’s played more in the 23s and he’s fit – he just has to push his way in.

“Obviously there is competition there. Tyrese Campbell is playing in a wide area, James McClean too and we brought Jacob Brown to the club as well.

“Thibaud played 70 minutes again on Monday and he’ll be part of the squad on Wednesday. Some of the injuries have opened the door for that kind of situation – and we’ve just got to look at that it because he needs game time now.

“It’s been difficult because he came back from Bolton and was around the first team but then he got injured in February and we didn’t have that long with Thibaud to really integrate him into the team or for him to push to get in last season.

“Then the team has moved forward and he’s playing catch up a little bit trying to push his way in.”

Gregory looked in real pain as he hobbled off the pitch at Hillsborough and needed help from two physios just to get back to the changing room.

O’Neill said: “Both groins are sore at the minute. He’s been for a scan and I’m waiting to see what the outcome of that scan is. Certainly he was in a lot of pain leaving the pitch but having seen him at the training ground yesterday he was moving a little bit better.

“Hopefully it’s not maybe as serious as we first feared.

“Lee’s not a lad who goes down easy. He’s more than capable of taking the physical contact. Sheffield Wednesday were pretty physical, particularly their two centre-backs in the nature of their challenges.

“For Lee to come off the pitch and, having not had many opportunities to start games, it takes something pretty significant. He certainly won’t be available for tomorrow night and then the scan will give us a clearer picture.”

The treatment room is pretty crowded at Clayton Wood at the moment and Mikel, who came off with a tight calf on Saturday, is being tested today.

O’Neill said: “John came off and we’ll assess him when we train later today. He’s a doubt, an extreme doubt, and none of the other injured players are able to return at this minute in time.

“We’re still without both goalkeepers, still without Joe longer term, Jordan Thompson, Steven Fletcher. We’re down a few bodies, there’s no doubt about that, but it gives an opportunity for some others to come in.”





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *