Etherington scare for Stoke

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Football News

Stoke winger Matthew Etherington will have a scan on his damaged hamstring on Wednesday which could force him to miss the FA Cup final next month.

Etherington pulled up sharply, clutching his left leg, in the first half of the 3-0 Barclays Premier League victory against Wolves and was carried off on a stretcher. The 29-year-old now faces a race against time to be fit to face Manchester City in the FA Cup final at Wembley on May 14.

Pulis said: "It is a massive disappointment for us. We won't know the extent of Matty's injury until he has a scan. But we will do our damnedest to make sure (he is ready) as he has 17-18 days yet. The first week is very important as we will get it sorted out. Then he will have 10 days after that to get it as strong as he possibly can to play in the final."

It was another blow for Potters manager Tony Pulis with Ricardo Fuller (ruptured Achilles) and Danny Higginbotham (knee) already ruled out for the rest of the season.

"Having lost Ricardo and Danny it is a massive blow because we haven't got the resources of Manchester City. It would have been tough enough with our best players."

On a more positive note, Stoke have almost certainly secured their top-flight status for a fourth successive season thanks to the win over Wolves last night, secured by goals from Kenwyne Jones, Ryan Shawcross and Jermaine Pennant.

Jones headed in his 11th goal of the season in the 16th minute and Shawcross added a second with a close-range finish on the stroke of half-time. Pennant extended their lead in the 51st minute but Pulis is not relaxing just yet.

"It was a big game for us," he said. "The players' attitude and application towards the job was fantastic. The first half was as good as we have played in the Premier League. We hope our status is guaranteed now. To get to a fourth season in the Premier League and reach the FA Cup final is quite a remarkable journey."

It was Wolves' 13th defeat in 17 away league games and the prospect of relegation remains very real.

Manager Mick McCarthy said: "That's as poor as we have played here. They were better than us. They stopped us playing. It is a difficult time when you are in the bottom three and playing against a good side who have just got to Wembley. Playing for Premier League survival should be enough to motivate us. We will play better in the remaining four games."

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Jermaine Pennant
Stoke City
Danny Higginbotham
Manchester City
Ryan Shawcross
Kenwyne Jones
Premier League
Matthew Etherington
Ricardo Fuller
Wolverhampton Wanderers
FA Cup

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