An injury to Morgan Fox means that Michael O’Neill may be forced to rethink the shape of his team for the Boxing Day trip to Coventry City.
Fox is being assessed after limping off with an injury to his right leg in the first half of last night’s 3-1 Carabao Cup quarter-final defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
The 27-year-old has been a regular for Stoke City since joining as a free agent from Sheffield Wednesday in pre-season, initially as a third centre-back and more recently as an out-and-out left-back.
In fact, he is the only senior out-and-out left-back at the club and his absence could mean either Josh Tymon diverted from central midfield or a switch to wing-backs, with James McClean filling that role against Spurs.
O’Neill said: “Morgan’s really I suppose our only natural left-back. Josh Tymon can do a job there and James McClean played wing back and did well there.
“We’ll just have to look at that. It’s another injury we could do without but hopefully we might have one or two back in the occasion for Saturday’s game.”
Stoke had needed to handed a debut to Andy Lonergan in goal last night due to injuries to Adam Davies and Angus Gunn while Joe Bursik was cup tied. Bursik comes back for the Coventry game at Birmingham’s St Andrew’s.
John Obi Mikel (calf) is hoping to be fit too after a set-back in training last Friday prevented him from featuring in last weekend’s 1-0 win over Blackburn Rovers.
Stoke’s following home match against Nottingham Forest should go ahead as planned on December 29 after Forest mass tested their players. They had drawn on Saturday with Millwall, who have subsequently had to postpone matches due to an outbreak of Covid.
Forest say they will not be making the results of their tests public, but have confirmed to NottinghamshireLive that their Boxing Day game against Birmingham will go ahead.