Stoke City midfielder Joe Allen is set to step up his return to fitness after injury on Monday afternoon, when he will feature for the club’s Under 23s side, manager Michael O’Neill has revealed.
Allen hasn’t featured for the Potters since rupturing his Achilles tendon during their 5-1 thrashing of Hull City all the way back in March, although it now seems as though he is closing in on a return to senior action.
The midfielder is set to feature against West Brom’s Under 23s on Monday, in what will be his first competitive action of any sort in nine months.
Providing an update on the midfielder, O’Neill was quoted by the club’s official website as saying: “Joe will play for the 23s on Monday – he’ll get some minutes and hopefully that will be the final part of his build-up.
Despite that, it seems O’Neill will not be rushing the Welshman back to action too quickly, as he added: “We’ve got to give him time. We’re not going to throw him straight back in and see the Joe Allen that we know, although we don’t think that’s far away.”
Prior to his injury, Allen had made a total of 158 appearances in all competitions for the club following his move from Liverpool in 2016, scoring 20 goals in that time.
This looks to be a big boost for Stoke.
Allen can be a quality player on his player, and his influence could certainly be useful as they go in search of a play-off place this season.
Indeed, with such a heavy schedule, having that extra man with which to rotate his squad will in itself be a boost for O’Neill in the coming weeks and months.
However, you can understand why the Potters boss is seemingly reluctant to rush him back too soon, given he will not want to risk damaging anything by bringing him back too quickly, and leave him facing another spell on the sidelines.