Shawcross nearing Stoke return



Posted Friday, February 21, 2020 by PA

Shawcross nearing Stoke return

Ryan Shawcross has handed Stoke a significant injury boost by returning to training this week, though the club captain will not be fit for Saturday’s visit of Cardiff.

Shawcross has struggled for fitness since picking up an injury in pre-season, making only three appearances in December before being sidelined again, and Michael O’Neill will be eager to get him back as soon as possible after seeing his side ship 11 goals in their last four games.

Tyrese Campbell has declared himself fit after being withdrawn due to a calf problem in last weekend’s 4-2 loss to QPR, but the match comes too soon for James McClean, who has been training in Dubai as he bids to overcome medial ligament damage.

Winger Thibaud Verlinden will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, while Stephen Ward remains out.

Cardiff could welcome Joe Ralls back into the side.

Ralls has been out since the end of January but has returned to training this week.

Australian Brad Smith and on-loan Wolves defender Dion Sanderson are still awaiting their debuts after joining in January.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (hamstring), forward Isaac Vassell (thigh) and defender Matthew Connolly (ankle) are long-term absentees.

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