Stoke City will be looking to build upon their promising start to the 2021/22 campaign this weekend when they host Huddersfield Town at the bet365 Stadium tomorrow.
The Potters have won three of their opening five league games and are currently fifth in the Championship standings.
Having recently suffered their first defeat of the season in all competitions at the hands of Fulham, it will be intriguing to see how Stoke will respond to this minor setback.
Set to face a Huddersfield side who have won three games on the bounce in the second-tier, the Potters know that they could be in for a tough afternoon if they are not at their very best in this fixture.
Whilst O’Neill will be able to call upon the likes of Joe Allen and Sam Clucas for this fixture, fellow central-midfielder Nick Powell is still unavailable.
The 27-year-old has not featured for Stoke since their 3-1 victory over Swansea City last month due to a thigh injury that he sustained in this particular clash.
Making reference to Powell, O’Neill has now revealed that the midfielder could be set to make his return to training next week.
Speaking to the Stoke Sentinel ahead of Saturday’s showdown with Huddersfield about Powell, the Potters boss said: “Nick is still in the hands of the medical team but closer to a return.
“He’s now working on the grass and with the ball.
“I’d envisage that within the next week, hopefully, he’ll join in training with the squad.”
This is unquestionably good news for Stoke as Powell emerged as a stand-out performer for the club last season.
As well as providing his team-mates with three assists, the midfielder managed to find the back of the net on 12 occasions in 39 league appearances for the Potters.
Having made a positive start to the current campaign by scoring two goals in three appearances, Powell could play a key role in helping his side achieve a great deal of success in the Championship in the coming months.
However, in order to prevent the risk of Powell suffering another injury setback, O’Neill should ease him back into action when he is fit enough to feature for Stoke.