Stoke duo doubts for weekend
Tony Pulis is sweating over the fitness of Andy Wilkinson & Danny Higginbotham ahead of Fulham clash.
By Richard Bailey
Last Updated: 22/04/09 2:34pm
Tony Pulis has injury concerns ahead of the trip to Fulham at the weekend with defenders Andy Wilkinson and Danny Higginbotham both doubtful.
Wilkinson is struggling with a badly bruised back and internal bleeding while Higginbotham has been forced to use crutches thanks to an ailing back condition.
Reserve full-backs Stephen Kelly, Andrew Davies and club skipper Andy Griffin will be fighting it out to be chosen to fill the full-back positions should the pair be ruled out.
Pulis is adamant that the club are still not safe from relegation despite their 1-0 win over Blackburn taking them eight points clear of the relegation places so the game against Fulham is one of vast importance.
"The pair of them are a big worry ahead of the Fulham game on Saturday and that could mean a couple of new faces coming into the frame," he told The Sentinel.
"Both Andy and Danny have been doing well this year as everyone would agree, but we're fortunate in that we have plenty of experienced back-up to call upon."
With players on stand-by the Potters boss may have to reshuffle his pack for the reserves clash with Tottenham on Wednesday so as not to risk further injuries.
Weigh things up
"We'll have to weigh up things carefully because we obviously don't want to risk those who could be heavily involved at Fulham," he confirmed.
Meanwhile, Pulis is confident his appearance in this weekend's London Marathon will not get in the way of his preparation for the clash at Craven Cottage.
"Not a chance," he insisted. "The Fulham match is first, second and third on my list of priorities.
"We have done brilliantly over the last few weeks, but only because we have all remained so focused and we still need some results to be sure of safety. And that begins at Fulham
"Training for the run has actually helped me prepare for games in the last few weeks. When you're running 12 or 15 miles along the road, no-one can disturb you and you have a clear head.
"But I can assure you that all thoughts of Sunday are peripheral in my mind now. Only after that final whistle blows at Fulham will I start thinking about the run."