Stoke City will be without Nick Powell this weekend against Fulham, with the playmaker’s return scheduled for the other side of September’s international break.
Powell has sat out Stoke’s last two fixtures – a win over Nottingham Forest in the Championship and League Cup clash with Doncaster Rovers – and Michael O’Neill isn’t counting on him ahead of this weekend’s meeting with Fulham.
As quoted by the Stoke Sentinel, O’Neill said of Powell’s thigh injury: “Nick is not back training.
“The injury Nick picked up means he’ll be out for a few weeks. We won’t see him this side of the international break.”
Powell, 27, has scored twice and registered an assist in only three Championship appearances so far this season, contributing to a strong start to the campaign for O’Neill’s side.
Currently, they sit as joint leaders with West Brom and Fulham, having collected 10 points from their opening four fixtures.
This weekend, they face Marco Silva’s Fulham, in an early season top-of-the-table clash.
Fulham and West Brom, of course, dropped out of the Premier League last season, whilst Stoke are building back after a couple of seasons of struggles in the Championship.
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Powell missing Saturday is a little irritating for Stoke. He’s a key player in the side and someone that, on his day, can be amongst the best players in the Championship.
This weekend, although early in the season, will give us a good idea of whether or not Stoke are genuine contenders this season.
Fulham will be up there and if they can match them, it points to a very successful campaign on the horizon.
That’s harder to do without Powell, but the Potters have it in them.
Thoughts? Let us know!