Bowen comments on how Stoke are looking to avoid defensive injuries

Stoke City assistant manager Mark Bowen says that defenders are being pulled out of training sessions to limit injuries at the back.


Stoke City assistant manager Mark Bowen has told the club's official website that two defenders have been instructed to limit their activity ahead of Saturday's fixture with Aston Villa.


The Potters head into the showdown with several injury concerns, with Geoff Cameron and Glen Johnson unlikely to be ready and Ryan Shawcross facing a race against time to make his first appearance since January 23.


Due to their fourth-round exit in the FA Cup, Stoke have spent several days in Dubai ahead of their return to Premier League action, and Bowen has suggested that no risks were taken by boss Mark Hughes as he looks to put out his strongest possible backline for the game at the Britannia Stadium.


Philipp Wolfscheid and Erik Pieters have both been regular starters during the current campaign, but they were told to spent part of their visit to the Middle East on the sidelines.


Bowen said:"The situation with injuries is so bad that Erik and Philipp have been doing the usual things like running and shooting, but when it came to an open game we pulled them out and told them to go for a swim.

“They didn't want to, obviously, but we just can't take the risk of any more injuries.”

Stoke head into the game in 10th position, but they remain just five points away from fifth-place Manchester United.

Goals from Giannelli Imbula, Ibrahim Afellay and Joselu ensured that they beat Bournemouth 3-1 in their last fixture, which ended a three-match winless streak in the league.

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