Stoke will be hoping for a third Premier League scalp of their Carabao Cup journey when they host Tottenham in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
The Potters are yet to concede in this seasons competition, and have already knocked out both Aston Villa and Wolves, which came after Michael O’Neill’s side survived suffering a first-round exit to Blackpool.
Stoke come into the game against Jose Mourinho’s side in impressive Championship form, losing just once in their previous seven league matches – with only goal-difference keeping the Potters outside the top-six.
Quiz: Have any of these 22 players ever been in Stoke City’s academy?
However, Stoke are facing a potential goalkeeping crisis ahead of the game against Spurs – with Stoke on Trent Live confirming that the second-tier outfit have no fewer than four senior goalkeepers unavailable.
Number one Adam Davies hasn’t played since suffering a knee problem back in November, whilst summer signing Angus Gunn sustained an ankle injury last month, forcing the club to sign Finnish shotstopper Niki Maenpaa, although he then got injured during his first day of training.
Youngster Joe Bursik, who was recently recalled from Doncaster, started the win over Blackburn on Saturday, although he’s cup-tied, meaning Potters boss O’Neill will be forced to play either 37-year-old Andy Lonergan or young Belgian Blondy Nna Noukeu.
This is a freak situation for O’Neill.
He probably thought his goalkeeper situation couldn’t get any worse, but Bursik being ineligible means he has a crucial decision to make.
O’Neill must decide whether to give 19-year-old Nna Noukeu his senior professional debut against one of the best sides in England, or hand Lonergan his first appearance since March 2019.
Whatever decision he makes, it promises to be a huge night for either Lonergan or Nna Noukeu.