Stoke V AFC Bournemouth at bet365 Stadium : Match Preview

By
18 November 2016
Stoke V AFC Bournemouth - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Jack Butland edges closer to return as Stoke prepare to entertain Bournemouth

England goalkeeper Jack Butland is nearing a return to the Stoke squad following an eight-month injury absence.

Butland has not featured for the Potters since March after suffering a fractured ankle during England's 3-2 friendly win in Germany.

It was originally hoped he would recover in time for the start of the Premier League season, but the 23-year-old was forced to undergo another operation after damaging scar tissue around the initial injury in training in August.

Butland resumed training last month and has made progress during the international break, with Stoke boss Mark Hughes hopeful he might be able to rejoin the squad sometime around the turn of the month.

"Jack is progressing really well. We had to get to the root of the problem and we understand that now," said Hughes.

"He isn't fully up to speed yet but we are hopeful that if he has a good week next week then he will be back within the senior group. We are encouraged by the last couple of weeks for him because previously he would get so far and then break down again.

"First and foremost though we need to get him fully fit and back to the level he was at last season. That is the only thing that we are thinking about at the moment."

Glenn Whelan is an injury concern for Stoke as they prepare to resume Premier League action at home to Bournemouth on Saturday.

Whelan suffered a hamstring injury during the international break, limping off midway through the first half of the Republic of Ireland's win in Austria last weekend, while fellow midfielder Geoff Cameron is still injured.

United States international Cameron has missed the last two matches after hyper-extending his knee and has suffered a setback in his bid to regain full fitness.

Better news for Hughes sees Marko Arnautovic return from suspension while Xherdan Shaqiri has recovered from his hamstring problem and is back in contention.

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe want his players to show they are a better team than the one which slumped to successive defeats before the break.

The Cherries went down 2-0 at Middlesbrough and were then beaten 2-1 at home by struggling Sunderland, who recorded a first Premier League win despite having Steven Pienaar sent off during the second half.

After heading to Stoke, Bournemouth are then set for matches against title challengers Arsenal and Liverpool.

Howe, though, remains confident his squad have enough about them to soon put right what went so wrong in their past two performances as they look to move back into the top half of the table.

"Our focus during the international breaks is to turn into a better team than when we left, so hopefully we can show that," Howe said at a press conference.

"We created a number of good opportunities against both Middlesbrough and Sunderland, but those statistics will change if we continue to do the right things.

"It has been very difficult - people's perception is that the result is the be-all and end-all, but there were periods in those games which were hugely frustrating because we deserved more.

"Now it is up to us to prove that with the results. We understand what kind of job we are in. It feels like a long two weeks for us, so we are chomping at the bit to play."

Howe added: "Stoke is a tough place to go at any time of year, but I think we can go there with confidence.

"I want to see 100 per cent commitment, as you do in every game, and that passion you need to win."

With right-back Adam Smith serving a suspension, Howe must shuffle his rearguard around for the first time in the Premier League.

That could present an opportunity to on-loan Chelsea defender Nathan Ake.




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