Stoke City injury latest as defender needed A&E treatment on ‘deep to the bone’ head injury


Danny Batth will have a late fitness test and could wear a head guard to see if he can be involved against Wycombe Wanderers this weekend.

Batth whacked his head on Andre Ayew on the cusp of half-time against Swansea on Wednesday and the wound was so deep just above his right eye that he had to go to hospital.

The 30-year-old centre-half is recovering well after treatment but Stoke are giving him time before testing how he can head the ball again.

Michael O’Neill said: “The wound was deep to the bone, which is why we had to take him to A&E. The doctor could have stitched him up but because it was so wide it will leave a scar and he wouldn’t have been able to come back on. Danny’s a handsome boy so I think he wanted to preserve how well he looks!

“It’s come together really well but we have to see how he is tomorrow and how he is heading the ball. The two players have gone for the ball and whatever part of Andre Ayew’s head and Danny’s head came together, it’s difficult to tell. It’s one of those things that happen but it was pretty horrific.”


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He added: “We’ve got to just monitor it. We haven’t had him out to head the ball yet because of where the cut is. We’ll need to assess that tomorrow. We’ll give it as long as possible.

“Danny will do a fitness test in terms of whether he’s compromised heading the ball in any way. It was quite a horrific cut to be honest and it would have to be something like that to make Danny go off.

“It isn’t in a particularly good area but we’re looking at if he could possibly wear a head guard if that’s necessary.”

Nick Powell is hoping to be passed fit after returning to training today after a groin injury forced him off in the closing stages against Swansea.

O’Neill said: “We’ve no additional injuries. Nick came off in the game, he was feeling his groin a little bit, but he’ll be ok for Wycombe unless he has a reaction to training today.

“The nature of that injury is that it’s a little bit of fatigue as the game progresses. You can see his mobility is compromised a little bit and he’s in quite a lot of discomfort and we had to make that decision at that point in the game to protect him.

“Our preference would have been to keep him on and strengthen our case to win the game.”

Rabbi Matondo is back available but Sam Clucas (hernia), James McClean (foot), Morgan Fox (hamstring), Nathan Collins (foot) and Tyrese Campbell (knee) are long-term injury victims.

That all might affect how many changes O’Neill makes for the seventh game in three weeks – but with a free week ahead.

He said: “We look at the team and we’ve arguably got five players who would start in our team who are unavailable due to injury at this minute in time.

“We just have to be mindful of that. The most important thing is to pick the strongest team to win the game. The players have had a good response, they seem fresh, they’ve trained albeit light over the last couple of days. The lads who didn’t play have done a little bit more on Thursday. I’ve no doubt we’ll be ready to play.”

He added: “Clucas and McClean are still a number of weeks away, Fox is still a number of weeks away, Collins and Campbell are both out next season. There’s nothing changing on the injury front at this minute in time.”





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