Pulis impatient for Wilson return

Stoke boss Tony Pulis is eager to get Marc Wilson back into first-team action.

The big man lost the ball...

Wilson suffered a broken leg against Sunderland in October but made his comeback with a 75-minute outing in Tuesday's behind-closed-doors friendly against Northampton.

The 25-year-old told Stoke's official website after the game that he could be back "within a few weeks" if all goes well.

Asked on Thursday when he thought he would have Wilson back in the first team, Pulis said: "I'm not sure - as quick as we possibly can.

"I rate him as one of the best players at this football club and a very, very good Premier League player. We need him back."

Pulis described his squad as "unbalanced" despite his best efforts in the January transfer window, and admitted Wilson's contribution on the left side has been missed.

"The balance of the team and squad has not been right," said Pulis.

"We have tried ever so hard to correct that in the summer and in the last window, but not been able to do it for all sorts of reasons - there is no one to blame.

"It has left us a little bit unbalanced, so to get Mark back in will be a real bonus for us.

"He has trained for the last month or so, but we have been careful with him in lots of respects.

"He needs games and he needs a little bit more training."

While missed targets made it a somewhat disappointing January window for Stoke, one player Pulis did manage to recruit last month was United States winger Brek Shea.

Shea signed a four-and-a-half-year deal with the Potters on transfer deadline day last week and the formalities of his £2.5million move from FC Dallas have now been completed, meaning he is eligible to make his debut in Saturday's league clash with Reading at the Britannia Stadium.

Just as with defender Wilson, though, it remains to be seen exactly when Shea will be thrown into action, with Pulis closely monitoring the fitness of the 22-year-old, who has been recovering from a foot operation.

"He should be in today (after returning to England from the US), so that would make him available for Saturday, but then we don't know what his fitness levels are like," Pulis said.

"We have to be a little bit careful with him and bring him on steadily, although his fitness looks pretty good to be honest with you - we have done a few fitness tests with him.

"So we hope he might be involved soon."

Stoke also brought in England goalkeeper Jack Butland from Birmingham on deadline day, with the 19-year-old subsequently rejoining the Blues on loan for the rest of the season.

The acquisition of Butland has raised questions about the future of the Potters' first-choice stopper Asmir Begovic and Thomas Sorensen, who has been deputising in goal for cup games.

And Sorensen, whose contract at the Britannia Stadium runs until the summer of 2014, says he will hold talks with Pulis about whether or not he will stay at Stoke.

"I will speak to the manager to see what his vision is for the next few years," said Sorensen, quoted by The Sentinel.

"The bottom line is that I am happy at Stoke, but what is pushing things the other way is my ambition to play.

"It is definitely something I will need to figure out because I obviously need to know where I fit in. If I don't fit in, then I will have to look after myself."



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