OUSSAMA ASSAIDI looks primed to return to first team action against Aston Villa on Sunday according to boss Mark Hughes.
The on loan Liverpool winger hasn't featured for the Potters since suffering a knee injury during the warm weather training camp in Dubai last month.
However, the Moroccan international has stepped up his rehabilitation in recent weeks, and could be in line to make his return this weekend in front of the live television cameras.
"We are hopeful of having Ozzie Assaidi back for the game, which would be a big boost for us," the 50-year-old told stokecityfc.com.
"He has trained this week and is progressing, but is still feeling a little bit of discomfort in his knee which we would expect to be perfectly honest.
"We will take another look at him in training tomorrow, but all being well he will be available to us."
His potential involvement in the game would see him replace the absent Stephen Ireland, who is ineligible to feature against his former side did to a contractual clause preventing him from doing so.
Despite the attacking midfielder's absence, along with the suspended Charlie Adam and Jonathan Walters, Hughes is still content with the options he has available to him.
"Ideally you would want every player for and available, but in football that is very rarely the case.
"It's not ideal having the three of them missing, but I do have other good options available to me which makes the problem easier to deal with.
"We are ways working hard with the players who maybe aren't playing regularly to make sure that they are up to speed and able to make an impact if and when they are called upon."