Stoke City duo Joe Allen and Steven Fletcher have both returned to first-team training after recovering from their respective injuries, according to Michael O’Neill who spoke to Knot FM.
Welsh international Allen has been out of action for the Potters since the middle of the month after sustaining a toe injury against Barnsley, leaving the likes of Romaine Sawyers and Sam Clucas as potential options to operate in a deeper position in the middle of the park.
Allen’s potential return could prove to be crucial against a strong West Bromwich Albion side, with Clucas being ruled out of tomorrow night’s clash with a suspension after picking up his fifth yellow of the campaign at Preston North End in midweek.
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Meanwhile, Steven Fletcher has been out of action since the Huddersfield Town game just before their clash with the Tykes, suffering with an ankle problem but seemingly far down the road to recovery as he looks to force his way into contention for tomorrow night’s game.
This will be a relief for Stoke boss Martin O’Neill who will need attacking options as they continue to be without Brighton & Hove Albion loanee Abdallah Sima, who is currently dealing with his own ankle issue.
The Northern Irishman offered a potential triple boost who has revealed Tyrese Campbell has suffered no setback in his recovery from the serious knee injury he suffered last year and is continuing training.
This is ahead of a possible return after the international break, with Tashan Oakley-Boothe scheduled to be in action for the Under-23s on Saturday.
Valerien Ismael’s West Brom side must be full of confidence at this moment in time, so having two experienced pros in Allen and Fletcher potentially available, even as options on the bench, must only be a major boost to the Staffordshire side.
The Baggies may have drawn their first three games since the last international break, unsettling some fans who expressed their frustration after seeing their side drop several points, but a late 2-1 win against Queens Park Rangers last Friday set them up perfectly for their 4-0 away hammering of Cardiff City in midweek.
With the Potters doing reasonably well this season and improving considerably from previous campaigns, tomorrow evening’s clash is likely to be a tight affair so squad depth and substitutions could prove to be crucial in this tie as we reach the latter stages of the game.
This is where Allen and Fletcher could come in, although both are only likely to receive a limited number of minutes with the international break coming round the corner.
Aggravating their injuries unnecessarily by risking them at The Hawthorns would be a disaster and potentially detrimental to their hopes of securing a top-six position.
So this latest news is a boost, but the Potters will need to be cautious with the duo.