MARC WILSON took another major step on his road to recovery on Tuesday afternoon . . . playing for 75 minutes of the Potters' behind closed doors friendly against Northampton Town.
The Republic of Ireland international hasn't featured for the Club in over three months, having sustained a broken leg in the goalless draw with Sunderland at the Britannia Stadium last October.
However, he came through his first outing since then unscathed, and following the match he was quick to praise the Club's medical team for the work they have done during his time on the sidelines.
"It went as well as could have been expected today," he told stokecityfc.com. "It's been three months now since I had my operation, so to get back out there and get some minutes under my belt feels really good.
"It's been a tough journey, but the lads who I have had working with me on a daily basis have been a different class, and I undoubtedly owe a lot to them.
"I've had to be patient, because as a player you want to get back as soon as possible. But with a broken leg you have to take your time, be clever and make sure you do everything right."
Whilst refusing to put a time frame upon his potential availability for first-team duties, the 25-year-old believes that he could be ready for a return within a few weeks, pending no major reaction to his leg.
"I don't want to put an exact time scale on things, because these sort of injuries have to be managed properly," he added.
"If all goes well then I could be back within a few weeks; if that is the case then that would be absolutely fantastic.
"I felt fine with the running aspects of things, but I can tell that I am a little bit rusty. Once I have sharpened up a little bit I will be fine to go again; and I can't wait for it."
Tony Pulis made several members of the first team squad available for the game, with the likes of Cameron Jerome, Wilson Palacios and Jermaine Pennant all part of the starting eleven.
Former England Under 21 international Jerome was on the score-sheet for the hosts, as was midfielder Matthew Lund, although it ultimately ended in disappointment as the Cobblers who recorded the victory by three goals to two.