TONY PULIS has given Republic of Ireland international Glenn Whelan a “50-50 chance” of being fit for Stoke City’s visit to Old Trafford on Saturday.
Whelan has been nursing a hamstring injury picked up in the goalless draw with Liverpool and missed out on Ireland’s two World Cup qualifiers.
The experienced midfielder has been undergoing intensive treatment in the build-up to the meeting with Manchester United this weekend, but Pulis confirmed at his pre-match press conference that City will make a late decision on his fitness.
“It’s touch and go with Glenn, and you have to be careful with hamstring injuries,” said City’s manager. “He’s only 50-50 at this stage, but we’ll see how he goes today and it may be that we make a decision on him just before the kick-off.”
Another decision which Pulis will have to make is over who plays at right back in City’s return to Premier League action after the international break.
American international Geoff Cameron has performed well in that position in the absence of Andy Wilkinson while he has been serving a three-match ban.
But while Wilkinson is now available again, Cameron returned from his travels with the USA on Thursday afternoon after playing two World Cup qualifiers.
Maurice Edu was also part of Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad, and Pulis is wary of throwing them both into action so soon after their travails across the Atlantic.
“We have a decision to make with the transatlantic boys,” he added.
“We’ve got to be careful with them – we’ll look at them today, talk to the lads to see how they are and then make that decision. But obviously Andy is fresh following his suspension.”
Michael Owen was left out of the squad for the trip to his former club Liverpool after picking up a groin injury, but could return to the fray on Saturday to face another of his old employers.
“Michael’s had a good eight days to recover,” said Pulis. “I don’t think he’ll be fit enough to start, but he could get himself a place on the bench.”
United will have Ashley Young available after his recovery from a knee injury picked up in their opening home game of the season against, but Chris Smalling is likely to miss out.