Stoke City boss Michael O’Neill has revealed that Morgan Fox will be missing for the whole of January after picking up a hamstring injury.
And he may be forced to enter the transfer market to pick up a replacement as he’s not convinced about his full back options.
Fox hobbled off during Stoke’s Carabao Cup defeat to Tottenham in midweek, and the diagnosis of his issue isn’t what O’Neill wanted to hear.
27-year-old Fox has been a regular in two different roles since signing on a free from Sheffield Wednesday in the summer, occasionally playing as a left-sided centre back when O’Neill has opted for a three-man defence.
But with Stoke reverting to a 4-2-3-1 system, Fox is now first-choice left back, although he won’t be taking up that role for the next six weeks.
“He’s had a scan and he’s not going to be back in a couple of weeks,” O’Neill told the Stoke Sentinel.
“I wouldn’t want to put an exact time frame on it but the indications we’ve been given suggest it could be four to six weeks.”
O’Neill admitted that the role that Fox has excelled in has been one he’s had issues with since arriving, and he may be forced to rectify it once again in January.
“I think James and Josh Tymon are both more suited to playing as a wing-back rather than full-back”, said O’Neill, who doesn’t see either man as a replacement for Fox.
“That’s the situation we find ourselves in. We’ll just see what happens in January to see if that’s something we need to address.”
Fox will be a big miss for the next month or so as the Potters haven’t lost many games where he’s been involved.
O’Neill reverted to a three centre back system in the goalless draw with Coventry, and from what we’ve seen in recent weeks that is now his secondary choice of formation.
But for how O’Neill wants to play for the rest of the season, Fox’s return will be crucial – or his potential replacement will be.