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OFFICIAL club website of stoke city

Depleted Defensively

Ryan Shawcross

MARK HUGHES insists defensive problems are mounting up for Stoke City ahead of Saturday’s trip to face the Champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Ryan Shawcross is a doubt for the game in West London after limping out of yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Huddersfield with a calf injury that is currently being assessed.

Loan star Kurt Zouma is ineligible for the game as Chelsea are his parent club, while Bruno Martins Indi remains sidelined by injury. Erik Pieters is edging closer to fitness but the weekend trip to the capital may come too soon.

Hughes recognises his rear-guard resources are depleted, although he’s clinging to the hope that the Potters may get lucky with skipper Shawcross.

Hughes told “We think he’s got a strain in his calf which makes him a doubt for Chelsea at the weekend and adds to our problems.

“We can’t play Kurt against his parent club so we’re going to be very, very stretched but we’ll see what the new few days brings.

“You never know, we might be lucky with Ryan – it might be a kick that has caused the muscle to go into spasm. That’s the best we can hope for but the reality is probably a little bit worse than that.”

Tickets for the New Year’s Day home game against Newcastle United are available – visit the bet365 Stadium Ticket Office, or call on (01782) 367599.