Selection headache for Pulis
Stoke manager Tony Pulis admits his players have given him a number of selection posers ahead of Sunday's match at Newcastle.
An impressive midweek Carling Cup win by some of his fringe players against Mark Hughes' Fulham side has given the Potters boss plenty to consider ahead of the clash at St James' Park. Players like Tuncay Sanli, Danny Higginbotham and Andy Wilkinson all pressed their claims for a place in the team and Pulis admits he has some difficult choices to make now.
"I would much rather be in this position than not be," he said. "We have strength in depth now and that is fantastic for us. There are players who did very well on Tuesday and they will be hoping to play on Sunday."
He added: "I will have a good look at it, and whilst I know there will be some players disappointed to miss out, the team I do put out there is one I believe can go and get the three points from this particular game."
Some of his regular first-team starters will definitely return, with Kenwyne Jones, Jermaine Pennant and Jon Walters all getting over injuries sustained in last weekend's 1-1 draw with West Ham.
"Thankfully, I am expecting all three of them to be fine in time for the game," said the Stoke boss.
"Kenwyne and Jonathan were both involved against Fulham, so they are fine, whilst Jermaine has come on well over the last few days too.
"Whether he is ready to start, I'm not sure yet, but I expect him to be involved in the squad. We were worried about all three of them at the time because you never know how serious the injuries are until they have been assessed.
"But luckily none of them were too bad, and with a day or two rest they managed to make full recoveries."
Goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen will also return after resting an elbow injury in midweek.