Football

Europa League countdown: Stoke star winger declared fit

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Tony Pulis says Matthew Etherington should be available for Stoke City's Europa League third qualifying round game with Hajduk Split despite fracturing a rib during his side's first leg victory.

Jonathan Walters' header gives the Potters a crucial first leg advantage, but after missing the club's friendly with Sheffield Wednesday, fears have grown that Etherington wouldn't be available to take the fight to the Croatian outfit in the second leg.

However, his manager Pulis has moved to quash fears that the winger will be out for Thursday's tie saying, "He's got a little crack, that's all.

"After running into someone in the first game - it was nothing malicious and it's not a bad injury.

"He was left out at Sheffield as a precaution but trained OK yesterday. As things stand, he should be okay for Thursday."

With Stoke taking a one-goal advantage to Croatia, the boss is expecting a tough task at Hajduk's 30,000 capacity Poljud Stadium, but has assured Stoke's 1,000 travelling supporters that his side have prepared for a battle.

"We'll arrive early tomorrow," he added. "Then they can rest and take things easy.

"We will train on their pitch tomorrow night, but it might just be a walk around because we don't want to give anything away."

"I wouldn't be surprised if they swapped things around a bit and maybe go with two up front for this one at their place.

"They will be a big challenge in front of their own fans, but we relish challenges like that."

Topics:
Europa League
Sheffield Wednesday
Stoke City
Football
Premier League
Matthew Etherington
Jonathan Walters
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