Stoke City could be without young defender Will Forrester for the start of the 2020-21 season after he was stretchered off during the Potters’ first pre-season friendly against Hibernian, according to the Stoke Sentinel.
The 20-year-old was forced onto a stretcher midway through the first half of the 1-1 draw with the Scottish side, with Forrester coming off worst after making a tackle.
Forrester was playing alongside new acquisition Ben Wilmot at the back when he picked up the injury, although the severity nor what part of his body he has hurt is yet to be determined.
With the departure of Nathan Collins to Burnley, Forrester will have been looking to make his mark in pre-season having been given a chance on the final day of the 2020-21 campaign away at AFC Bournemouth.
Michael O’Neill threw him into the starting line-up that afternoon and the faith was repaid as local lad Forrester not only kept a clean sheet but scored in a 2-0 victory at the Vitality Stadium.
How well do you know Stoke City’s celebrity supporters? – Can you score 20/20?
But this could potentially be a setback that Forrester and Stoke did not need ahead of their first game of the season against Reading.
Due to the arrival of Wilmot, Forrester may not have been in contention to start the season but his performance against Bournemouth on the final day of the previous campaign will have given O’Neill some food for thought.
Stoke do have a decent amount of centre-back options in Wilmot, Harry Souttar, James Chester and Danny Batth but the Northern Irishman isn’t shy of giving the younger players a chance when he sees fit and considering he was starting a pre-season game there must have been plans for Forrester to be in the senior squad this season.
Hopefully though it isn’t too serious and Forrester will be fit and firing for the start of the campaign as it would be a blow to him mentally as well to not be giving O’Neill a selection headache this pre-season.