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OFFICIAL club website of stoke city

Crouch Back In Contention

TONY PULIS is hoping to have Peter Crouch back in contention for Saturday's game against Aston Villa . . . after confirming that the Club's leading goalscorer has seen a specialist in a bid to clear up a mouth injury.

The 31-year-old striker was forced to miss last weekend's 1-0 victory against West Bromwich Albion, after losing a number of teeth following a nasty collision with Fabricio Colocinni during the game against Newcastle United last month.

However, Crouch has this week had a mouth-guard fitted in a bid to prevent any further damage, and Pulis says he will train with the rest of the lads on Thursday before making a final decision on whether to include him against the Premier League strugglers.

"Peter went down to London yesterday to have a guard fitted in his mouth, and hopefully that will help him," he said at the pre-match press conference.

"He will train with the rest of the lads today [Thursday] with it fitted, and we will see how he goes. We are hoping it protects him enough so that we can include him in the squad in some capacity at the weekend.

"He was desperate to be involved against West Brom last weekend, but we were advised against doing so. Hopefully though, we can have him back for selection against Villa."

Meanwhile, Pulis also revealed his disappointment at losing the services of ever-present midfielder Charlie Adam.

The Scotland international has featured in every game for the Potters since completing a move to the Britannia Stadium from Liverpool in the summer, however, he will be forced to sit out the Villa Park encounter 
having incurred a one-match ban after picking up his fifth caution of the campaign.

"It's disappointing to lose Charlie because he has been fantastic for us," he added. "He keeps the ball well, he works hard and he can make things happen for us in attacking areas as he has already shown.

"He has arguably performed better in the away games than he has in the home games, so we will miss him. We have players chomping at the bit to come into the side though, so it gives them an opportunity."

Dean Whitehead looks the most likely candidate to fill Adam's void in midfield following his goal-scoring exploits at the Hawthorns last weekend. 

Elsewhere, Cameron Jerome is expected to be declared fit after being forced to withdraw from the substitutes' bench against the Baggies after picking up an injury during the pre-match warm up.

"Cameron just felt something go in his ankle when he kicked the ball before the game," Pulis added.

"We weren't sure whether it was his ligament at the time, so we obviously didn't want to risk anything. I'm expecting him to be available on Saturday though."

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