James McClean has returned to full training ahead of Stoke's trip to Rotherham on Saturday evening, but manager Gary Rowett confirmed that the Potters will be without both Peter Crouch and Mame Biram Diouf for the Championship clash.
McClean suffered a broken wrist whilst on international duty with the Republic of Ireland three weeks ago and, although there are no certainties as to when he will be back in action, Rowett hinted that he could be in line for a weekend recall.
Quoted by the Sentinel in his pre-match press conference, Rowett said: "He’s the type of player you want around because he’ll fight and scrap and do everything he can to lift the team up the table."
Sitting 18th in the Championship, that is exactly what Stoke City need at the moment - but Rowett admitted that he has to balance his desire to bring back a true gamechanger with a more long-term view.
"Of course he wants to get back in the team," he said. "What we’ve got to do is assess the risk. If he plays and gets injured again, what is that timescale? There is a risk but is there a good chance he’ll get through it?"
With McClean missing and Stoke managing just one win in their last five games, the anticipated absences of Peter Crouch and Mame Biram Diouf will not help them in their search for goals.
Speaking of the pair, Rowett explained: "I think his [Crouch] hip and back were a little bit locked. My initial thought was that he’d pulled his groin a little bit the way he was limping off but I think the prognosis is not quite as bad. It’s very probable that he won’t be available for the weekend and we’ll see after that."
Of Diouf, who has recently attracted interest from Fenerbahce, he said: "Mame has got a grade one hamstring injury so he’ll probably be a week or two away but not quite as serious as first thought."