News from the bet365 Stadium as Stoke City deal with a slew of senior injuries, including Ben Wilmot and Ki-Jana Hoever. As Stoke City’s injury difficulties continued against Southampton, Ben Wilmot left the bet365 Stadium on crutches and Ki-Jana Hoever is awaiting further assessment.
Alex Neil went into the midweek game, his sixth in 18 days, without eight players, including six expected starts, following a string of major blows in the first few weeks of the season. When centre-back Wilmot collided with a post, a stretcher was called, and Hoever limped off in the closing stages. As a result, Mehdi Leris, who had started the night as a centre-forward, was moved to right-back, midfielder Jordan Thompson was moved to left-back, and right-back Junior Tchamadeu – making his first Stoke start as a left-back – joined recalled Luke McNally at centre-half. Stoke are hoping that at least one of centre-back Michael Rose (groin), left-back Enda Stevens (calf), and right-back Lynden Gooch (hamstring), who both limped out of last weekend’s win at Bristol City, will be declared fit to face Leicester City away on Saturday. Lewis Baker and Emre Tezgel were both sidelined by
major knee and quad injuries in preseason, and the treatment room has progressively filled up around them. Ryan Mmaee, Andre Vidigal, and Tyrese Campbell, who may be Stoke’s starting front three, are all injured. Mmaee (hamstring) has missed seven and a half games, while Vidigal has only played roughly 80 minutes in the last eight games after suffering an ankle injury at Millwall in late August. Campbell suffered a hamstring injury in the early stages of a game against Hull on September 27 and is expected to be out for several months.
“We had six players missing (along with Baker and Tezgel),” Neil explained. We’re missing Campbell, Mmaee, and Vidigal from our frontline. Enda Stevens, a natural left-back with a strong left foot, is unavailable. We’ve lost Gooch and Rose, as well as Ben and Ki-Jana. Yes, it is difficult.
Stoke have looked into the free agency market to strengthen numbers in key areas, but transactions have appeared doubtful because they were not completed in the week following deadline day. It will be interesting to see if they revisit that path in light of the current physio line.
However, Neil stated, “There is scope to bring in a free agent, but if you bring in a free agent,
If we sign a free agent now, they won’t be ready for another month, which doesn’t assist our immediate dilemma.”