Stoke manager Tony Pulis is hoping for a fitness boost from winger Matthew Etherington ahead of Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final tie at Chelsea.
The former West Ham midfielder has not played for four matches since injuring his knee in the fifth-round clash at Manchester City on February 13. However, Pulis said the 28-year-old was nearing full fitness and hoped he would be available.
"We are still waiting on Matty Etherington being fit. It is another player we desperately need in our team because he gives us something that we haven't got - pace and trickery down the side of the pitch," said Pulis
Pulis still feels Etherington can force his way into the England's World Cup squad before the end of the season, following defender Ryan Shawcross who was an unused substitute against Egypt at Wembley this week.
"He has been brilliant for us this year and he needs to get in the team," the Potters boss added.
"Having seen Ryan get into the England squad there is no reason why, if he continues his form, he hasn't got a shout as well."
Shawcross' stay with the national team helped the player get over the fall-out from his leg-breaking tackle on Aaron Ramsey against Arsenal last weekend.
And Pulis has backed the player to seize the opportunity he has been offered by Fabio Capello, which he hopes would then go on to benefit Stoke.
"We signed Ryan at 19 and has been a fantastic player for this club and is part of the future we are trying to build," he said.
"I think when you are dealing with the great players he has been dealing with it will give him an insight into what he has to do if he has aspirations of playing for his country."
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