TONY PULIS has indicated that Ryan Shotton may well be given the chance to continue in the problem left-back spot when Stoke City take on Fulham in the Barclays Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.
Shotton stepped into that position in Monday evening's draw at West Ham United when Andy Wilkinson joined the injury list after sustaining a back problem in a challenge with England striker Andy Carroll in the first half.
Wilkinson is unlikely to recover in time for the Fulham game as City await the outcome of a scan on a potential disc problem.
Therefore, 24-year-old Shotton may well get an extended opportunity in a position where the Potters lost regular left back Marc Wilson when he suffered a broken leg in last month's home game against Sunderland.
"Shotts came on and did really well on Monday, so he'll be in the frame," said Pulis at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.
"We are concerned Wilko may have damaged a disc, but we must wait to see what the scan shows before we know the extent."
The Potters manager also hinted at additional changes as he contends with three Barclays Premier League games in the space of eight days, with matches against Newcastle United and West Brom following on from Saturday.
Kenwyne Jones is one who could earn a start after doing well as a substitute recently, while Pulis also pointed out that fellow forward Cameron Jerome is "chomping at the bit" for an opportunity to impress.
This weekend comes too soon for Michael Owen, though, as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury, with the visit of his former employers next Wednesday a much more likely proposition.
Rory Delap is another absentee as he continues his rehabilitation from a hernia operation which he underwent last week.