Stoke City will be without Nick Powell when they host Reading in the Championship tomorrow.
BREAKING: Michael O'Neill confirms that @stokecity will be without Nick Powell for tomorrow's game against Reading, because of the same hamstring problem that kept him out of the Huddersfield match last week. #SCFC pic.twitter.com/bxRUxVw2ys
— BBC Radio Stoke (@BBCRadioStoke) February 5, 2021
The 26-year-old has been an outstanding performer for the Potters this season, scoring seven goals in 23 games for Michael O’Neill’s side.
However, a slight hamstring issue meant the former Manchester United man missed the draw at Huddersfield last time out, but it had been hoped Powell would be back against the Royals.
That’s not the case though, with O’Neill confirming to BBC Radio Stoke ahead of the game that the fixture has come too soon for the attacking midfielder.
Steven Fletcher was the focal point up top for Stoke against the Terriers, and he scored Stoke’s goal, with Jack Clarke and James McClean joining him in attack.
Going with the same three is an option for O’Neill, but there are other players who will be pushing for a start, including Sam Vokes, Jacob Brown and Rabbi Matondo.
A seven-game winless run has seen Stoke fall to 10th in the table, although they are just four points away from the play-off places.
This is a major blow for Stoke because Powell has been superb this season, and is key to the way the team play.
As well as chipping in with goals, the ex-Crewe man is the main creative outlet in the final third, so O’Neill will need others to step up in his absence.
It will be hugely frustrating for Powell too, but the issue doesn’t sound serious, and Stoke fans will hope the player can return at Norwich next week.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.