MARK HUGHES has delivered promising news on the fitness of both Wilson Palacios and Brek Shea, but confirmed that neither would be available in time for tomorrow's opening home game of the season against Crystal Palace.
Speaking exclusively to Stoke City Player on Friday morning, Hughes revealed that both players have returned to training this week having been forced to miss last weekend's 2013/14 curtain raiser at Anfield.
Shea sustained medial ligament damage in the Potters pre-season clash with Philadelphia Union almost four weeks ago, whilst Palacios was a late withdrawal from the starting eleven against Liverpool.
"Brek and Wilson are both back with us again, which is fantastic," the City boss said. "They are both a little bit away from being available for selection though, so they won't feature tomorrow.
"Wilson will probably start full training in the middle of next week, whilst Brek could probably do with some minutes on the pitch, so we will look to involve him in the Under 21 game on Monday night.
"Losing Wilson five minutes before kick-off last weekend was a blow to us, and it did disrupt things a little bit, but thankfully the problem isn't too serious; likewise with Brek, we initially thought he could be out for a few months so having him back in training now is a bonus."
The Welshman also confirmed that he may be inclined to make one or two changes to his side against the Eagles tomorrow, despite being pleased with what he saw from the starting eleven at Anfield.
"I was pleased with what I saw last weekend, especially with the game being against a team that I full expect to be right up there this season," he said.
"There won't be wholesale changes, but we are the home team and the onus is on us to take the game to them. We have to approach the game in a positive manner, and that is what we will look to do."