Nick Powell had to be substituted after 28 minutes in Stoke City’s loss to Bournemouth and is expected to miss up to eight weeks with a cracked fibula.
The Potters travel to former manager Gary Rowett’s Millwall on Saturday looking to make up for back-to-back losses against Sheffield United and the Cherries.
Ryan Shawcross explained what a sore loss Powell will be to Michael O’Neill’s men’s endeavours in his StokeonTrentLive column.
He said: “It’s a big blow that we’re going to lose him for so long. You could see by the way he was walking it was a bad one. He’s our main player. We tick better when he’s in the team whether it’s how he presses, scores goals or assists. We might play one up front but with him he can make it a fluid system.”
Powell has contributed six goals and one assist in ten games and will be difficult to replace but Stoke have the strength in depth to cope.
Tyrese Campbell is nearing a return to action, the 21-year-old looked every bit a Premier League player in the first half of last season and should compliment the likes of Jacob Brown and Mario Vrancic in the final third.
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Powell’s absence will put more stress on the shoulders of Vrancic in taking on more of the creative burden at Stoke.
O’Neill will want to see his midfielders contributing more going forward, Sam Clucas could be a player that the Potters alter his responsibilities to be more effective in front of goal with the solid platform that the industry of Joe Allen and Jordan Thompson provide.
Millwall will be a difficult test at The Den with the confidence taking a hit from the last couple of matches, however O’Neill will have instilled a determination in the squad to make up for lost time and if they can stop Jed Wallace they should get back to winning ways.