Stoke manager Tony Pulis is mulling over whether to recall midfielder Charlie Adam to the starting line-up for the first time since the death of his father earlier this month for the trip to Manchester City.
Charlie Adam Sr, a former player with St Johnstone and Dundee United among others, died on December 17 at the age of 50. Adam has quickly made himself a key player for Stoke after signing from Liverpool in the summer but he has not played since his father's death and was an unused substitute in the two most recent games against Liverpool and Southampton.
Pulis said: "It's very, very difficult to gauge how individuals react to losing their parents but the good thing about the place is that the players are so close to each other. They are a good group of player. Him being around, even sitting on the bench for a couple of games, takes his mind off it, just to be part of it."
The Potters are on a 10-match unbeaten run in the Barclays Premier League that has lifted them to eighth but were below par against Saints on Saturday and had to fight from 3-1 down to snatch a draw.
They were not helped by having to reshuffle the league's most miserly defence because of suspensions to captain Ryan Shawcross and full-back Geoff Cameron.
Both are available against City, and Pulis said: "We will be looking to freshen it up. I thought one or two players looked tired.
"Ryan comes back into the squad, Geoff Cameron comes back into the squad, they have had a break. We will make three or four changes to the team that started."
History is not on Stoke's side, with the Potters having failed even to score a goal at the Etihad Stadium in the league since promotion to the top flight in 2008, suffering four defeats and conceding 11 goals.
Pulis said: "Manchester City is a bonus game for us. With their resources, it is a fantastic stadium and fantastic players and there has to be a hell of a lot of things go well for us and a hell of a lot go wrong for them for us to get a result there, but we will go there with the same spirit and commitment and attitude.
"They are, for me, one of the top teams in Europe, never mind Britain."