TONY PULIS was keeping his cards close to his chest regarding his team selection for this weekend’s trip to Swansea City . . . however, he has confirmed that defender Andy Wilkinson is a major doubt for the clash at the Liberty Stadium.
The City boss confirmed that the 28-year-old defender will undergo a late fitness test in South Wales tomorrow, after being substituted during the first half of Tuesday’s FA Cup Third Round replay victory against Crystal Palace with a troublesome back injury.
His potential absence could open the door for youngster Ryan Shotton to return to the starting eleven, although Pulis stopped short of ruling out Wilkinson entirely.
“We wont know whether Andy is going to be ok or not until tomorrow, so we will wait and then assess things,” he said at the pre-match press conference on Thursday.
“He felt his back go in the first half of the game in the week, and we aren’t sure what has caused it. It was a concern for us so we took him off as soon as he felt it.
“Andy plays at 110 percent every time he takes to the field , and never ever goes into a game where he gives anything less. He is a good honest kiddie, a real tough lad – in many ways he is a proper Stokie.”
He added: “We are hoping he will be fit, but if not we have options. Ryan (Shotton) missed the game against Palace with a hamstring injury, but he comes back into consideration for the game.”
Pulis must also decide whether to recall the likes of Glenn Whelan and Charlie Adam to the starting line-up having opted to rest them on Tuesday night, whilst he also has the option of thrusting Peter Crouch back into
the firing line for his first Premier League start since November.
Crouch last started a league game for the Potters against Newcastle United six weeks ago, however, he has been used sparingly since then, after breaking several teeth in a nasty collision with Fabricio Coloccini.
Meanwhile, Bosnian international ‘keeper Asmir Begovic will return to the side at the expense of Thomas Sorensen, who resumed his cup duties against the Eagles.