TONY PULIS faces a selection headache ahead of this weekend’s visit of Manchester City . . . but it’s a nice problem to have with many of the Club’s new signings vying for a role in the clash against the defending champions.
One player that the Britannia Stadium crowd will be eager to see is Michael Owen after a productive first week of training, but Pulis kept his cards close to his chest when asked about the possibility of him playing a role in the game.
“He’s come back a lot fitter than we thought he would, but it’s too early to say whether he can play straight away,” said City’s manager in his pre-match press conference at the Club’s Clayton Wood Training Ground on Thursday morning.
“There are plenty of games to go yet. We’ve got to gauge it over the next couple of weeks. We’ll try and get him involved if we can – he wants to play, but he’s like every player you work with; they want to play and Michael’s no different.”
Steven N’Zonzi will be keen to make his debut for the Club after his deadline-day signing from Blackburn Rovers, while Maurice Edu will be in the squad after playing for the United States in their crucial CONCACAF match against Jamaica.
Charlie Adam could feature too after coming on as a second-half substitute for Scotland in their midweek draw with Macedonia, and Pulis says the rest of the squad’s international absentees are all in good shape after their travels.
“They’re all okay,” he added.”We’ll assess the lads who have been playing in America today, and make sure they’ve recovered as much as everyone else.”
He also confirmed that Matthew Etherington (hamstring) and Andy Wilkinson (concussion) have been back in full training and could play a part.
But Jamie Ness will not be in the squad as he continues to recover from a groin injury sustained in the Capital One Cup defeat to Swindon Town.
Pulis says that he is fully aware of the challenges his side faces when Roberto Mancini’s title winners come to town on Saturday.
“We know how good they are, it’s going to be a really tough game for us,” he commented.
“With the players that they’ve got, and who they’ve aspired to attract to the club, that puts them right among the top clubs in the world in my opinion.
“We’ll go out and give it the best we possibly can – we always enjoy the big games at the Britannia, and there’s no bigger game than welcoming the champions.”
*Tickets are still available for Saturday’s match and these are on general sale from the Britannia Stadium Ticket Office and online at scfcdirect.com.
The majority of seats are located in the Q-railing Stand lower tier and the Family Area, but fans can only make a booking if they have a purchasing history with the Club.
To book your seats, go to www.scfcdirect.com or contact the Ticket Office hotline on 01782 367599.