Pulis hopeful on Shawcross
Stoke boss Tony Pulis is hoping to have Ryan Shawcross available for the Potters' next outing. The commanding centre-half has enjoyed an eye-catching debut season in the Premier League and has been a major contributor in the club's battle to avoid the drop. His presence would therefore be very welcome in a crunch clash with fellow strugglers West Brom on Saturday. Shawcross was forced to withdraw from England U21 duty this week after undergoing treatment on a knee problem, but Pulis believes that decision was beneficial to all concerned. "Ryan is on a programme of sugar injections in his knee and it just so happened he was having one as pre-arranged last Tuesday," Pulis told The Sentinel. "Unfortunately, he felt really sore after the injection, which isn't surprising when you think the needle goes right into the joint. "I spoke with Stuart (Pearce) about it and we agreed that Ryan shouldn't travel to Norway for the friendly, but should come back to us. "I have to say Stuart has been brilliant about it, really understanding and appreciating what is best for Ryan. He'd also got quite a few centre-halves in his squad, so it wasn't clear just how much football Ryan would get anyway." BenefitShawcross requires a course of injections at present to help his 21-year-old body cope with a flurry of growth spurts. "He has a sugar solution injected into him once or twice a month," Pulis explained. "It apparently tightens up the ligaments and cartilage in your joints to make them stronger. "Ryan certainly seems to be feeling the benefit, so I'm happy to go along with the experts for as long as they think it will help him. "We'll go steady with him this coming week and see how he is feeling ahead of the Albion game, but we're hopeful he'll be OK. "We certainly need each and every player in there punching their weight because the gloves are off now with just eight games to go."
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