Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross is set to make his return from injury, much to the delight of overworked goalkeeper Jack Butland.
Shawcross is yet to play this season after undergoing an operation in August to correct a back problem, which also caused him to miss six weeks of last season.
However, the 28-year-old returned to training with Stoke’s Under-21 squad last week and is now set to appear in their Development League Cup game against local rivals Port Vale on Wednesday night.
In Shawcross’ absence, Butland did not claim a clean sheet until the eighth Premier League game of the season, a 1-0 win at Aston Villa on Saturday.
The England goalkeeper is therefore looking forward to the return of the captain ahead of him in central defence.
Butland told The Sentinel: “We know that if we keep clean sheets we can produce the chances to win games, so it’s fantastic that Ryan is coming back.
“He’s been an absolute rock for this club so to have him nearing fitness is a huge bonus.”
Potters chairman Peter Coates, meanwhile, has offered his condolences to the family of Mame Diouf after it was revealed on Tuesday that the striker’s mother was among the hundreds of people that died in the disaster at Mecca last month.
“It’s a terrible, awful tragedy for Mame and his whole family and my thoughts are with them all through this difficult time,” Coates said.
“It is just really, incredibly sad.”
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