Ryan Shawcross admits it’s been tough mentally having to cope with his worst season at Stoke City for injuries.
The Stoke skipper has only played two-and-a-bit games after breaking his leg in pre-season and then aborting two comebacks in December because of groin and knee injuries.
In an interview with this Saturday’s matchday magazine, Shawcross also repeats the fear he once had that his career might even have been ended by the initial injury against Leicester back in July.
Stoke City chairman Peter Coates insists he remains confident of seeing his club survive their relegation battle to remain in the Championship by the end of the season.
He says he has every confidence in manager Michael O’Neill on the evidence so far – but admits survival for Stoke City could be a tight squeeze that might even go to their very last fixture of the season at high-flying Nottingham Forest.
Asked if he remained optimistic about his club’s survival prospects, he replied: “Obviously. Absolutely! Yes, I do believe we have got the players and the management team to make sure we are okay.”
The Stoke City kits for 2020/21 are already well on their way to production – but Macron could do far worse than take inspiration from shirts put forward by Koncept Kits, at least according to the reaction from supporters.
Macron, whose tops have generally been very well received since taking over from New Balance in 2016, are heading into their final season with Stoke.
The Italian-based company signed a five-year contract back when Stoke were established in the Premier League and it remains to be seen what division the club will be playing in when the deal comes up for tender.
Hull manager’s preview
Hull City’s Championship form hasn’t been helped by their injury list.
Fans have seen a miserable record since the January deadline day sales of Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki while the treatment room has been overcrowded.
Keane Lewis-Potter (hamstring) is hoping to be in contention but Jordy de Wijs (calf), Reece Burke (calf), Jon Toral (hamstring), Eric Lichaj (ankle), Herbie Kane (ankle), Josh Bowler (heel), James Scott (ankle) and Tom Eaves (ankle) are all out for the longer term.
EFL coronavirus stance
The EFL has been in contact with Stoke City and all other EFL clubs regarding the coronavirus outbreak.
Stoke have been provided with the latest government advice on how best to deal with the crisis.
An EFL spokesman said: “The EFL remains in close contact with the Government regarding the ongoing concerns posed by the coronavirus.”
Big calls O’Neill must make
Stoke City are preparing for a huge home game against Hull that will either leave everyone sitting that bit more comfortable or breathing into a brown paper bag.
A five-point haul from a three-game week should have been enough for Michael O’Neill to keep putting distance between his team and the bottom three but instead they’ve been dragged that little bit further into the mix.
So how should they approach this game and will they stay up? Our writers have been having their say on the main talking points.