TONY PULIS has admitted that the big freeze is hampering Stoke City's bid to get Marc Wilson back in first team action at the earliest opportunity.
Although Pulis is delighted with the progress which the Republic of Ireland international is making in his recovery from a broken leg, he is frustrated that the cold weather has held up his progress following a return to training in the past few days.
Wilson is battling his way back from the injury which he suffered in the Premier League draw with Sunderland back at the end of October.
"The cold weather is not helping Marc," revealed Pulis when asked how long it would be before the defender would be hitting the comeback trail.
"We have to be very careful in these conditions when he is coming back from an injury of this nature, so that is taking its toll at the moment.
"Marc has been a massive miss for us over the past three months and we want him back as soon as possible, but we have to get it right."
He added: "He has been coming along nicely in training over the past few days, but it's difficult to say at the moment when he'll start playing."
With Wilson still working his way back to full fitness, City had to go into this weekend's meeting with Swansea City without one of their first-choice full-backs when both Andy Wilkinson and Ryan Shotton failed fitness tests on injuries.
That meant Pulis had to use midfielder Dean Whitehead as a makeshift right back with Geoff Cameron switching to the left hand side.