Ireland injury blow for Stoke
Published 22/08/2014 | 19:21
Stoke boss Mark Hughes has encountered the first injury setback of the new season for his squad, with midfielder Stephen Ireland having sustained a chest problem in training.
Hughes had a full group to select from for the Potters' Barclays Premier League campaign-opening clash with Aston Villa last weekend, which they lost 1-0 at home.
But he will be without Ireland when his side take on Hull at the KC Stadium on Sunday after the Irishman pulled a muscle in his rib cage which is set to keep him sidelined for "a couple of weeks at least".
Hughes said ahead of the Hull fixture: "We have a problem with Stephen Ireland unfortunately, who has pulled a muscle in his rib cage.
"It's a disappointment to us because he is a good player and somebody we would prefer to have available to us.
"It looks like he will be out for a couple of weeks at least, or until the pain has gone to allow him to move around the pitch comfortably."
Hughes is confident Robert Huth will be available, despite the defender feeling a slight twinge in his knee while over-stretching.
The manager is also weighing up whether it will be too soon, given his lack of game time in pre-season, to hand Victor Moses his Stoke debut following the Nigeria forward's campaign-long loan move from Chelsea, which was announced just prior to the Villa match.
United States defender Geoff Cameron and Nigeria striker Peter Odemwingie, who like Moses both played in the knockout stages of this summer's World Cup, are poised to come into the squad after sitting the Villa contest out.
The likes of Dionatan Teixeira, Andy Wilkinson, Ryan Shotton, Wilson Palacios and Brek Shea were also absent from the matchday 18 last week and it remains to be seen if any of them are involved this weekend.
It would appear unlikely in the case of the latter pair, who seem destined to depart the club before the end of the transfer window.
Midfielder Palacios had looked set for a move to Qatar earlier this summer, only for it to fall through.
He has subsequently been linked with Villa, but regarding that, Hughes - quoted by The Sentinel - said: "I'm not aware of that interest.
"It's been difficult for Wilson. He obviously had an opportunity to go to Qatar, which was a good opportunity for him and ourselves, but that fell through.
"Wilson we like as a guy and as a player, but the squad is a little bit top heavy and some guys need to move on."
Meanwhile, regarding talk of Sky Bet Championship side Derby being keen on Shotton, Hughes said: "I think an interest has been shown.
"If it's Derby I would encourage it because they are a good club looking to get back into the Premier League, which Ryan would want to do himself."