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OFFICIAL club website of stoke city

Bowen's Shawcross Hope

ASSISTANT MANAGER Mark Bowen is hopeful that Ryan Shawcross will be fit enough to return back to full training next week and put himself into contention for the forthcoming Barclays Premier League showdown with Aston Villa.

Bowen, who is with the team at the warm-weather training camp in Dubai, is hoping that the tropical climate in the middle east will help the City skipper's rehabilitation and enhance his chances of joining the rest of the squad's preparations for the fixture upon their return back to the Potteries early next week.

Shawcross hasn't yet undertaken a full training session since suffering an injury setback during the first-half of the side's 3-0 reverse against league leaders Leicester City at the King Power Stadium last month.

Speaking from Dubai, Bowen said: "Ryan hasn't joined in with the group yet. He's just started line running and is working himself to a standstill.

"The ideal scenario is to get him home next week and ready to join in with the other lads and then he has the best part of a week to see if he can make the Villa game."

Mark Hughes' trusted right hand man also revealed that both Philipp Wollscheid and Erik Pieters have been pulled out of contact training this week to ensure neither pick up any unnecessary injuries ahead of next Saturday's encounter.

"The situation with injuries is so bad that Erik and Philipp have been doing the usual things like running and shooting, but when it came to an open game we pulled them out and told them to go for a swim.

"They didn't want to, obviously, but we just can't take the risk of any more injuries."

Hughes is already sweating on the fitness of Phil Bardsley (dead leg) and Marc Muniesa, who limped out of last weekend's 3-1 win at Bournemouth with a hamstring injury, whilst the game against relegation-threatened Villa is likely to come too soon for United States star Geoff Cameron (ankle) and England full-back Glenn Johnson (knee).

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