Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has revealed his side could face Chelsea on Saturday with just one available central defender.
Ryan Shawcross (back) and Geoff Cameron (hamstring) are still injured, while Kurt Zouma is ineligible to play against his parent club.
Hughes also confirmed Kevin Wimmer is struggling for fitness after sustaining a hamstring injury during the 2-0 EFL Cup defeat to Bristol City on Tuesday.
That leaves Bruno Martins Indi as the only first-team centre-back for the visit of the defending Premier League champions to the bet365 Stadium.
“We’re struggling a little bit defensively,” he said.
“Of my senior centre-halves I’ve probably got one. We’re keeping our fingers crossed Kevin will be okay. He’s got damage to his hamstring and we’re hoping it won’t stop him playing, but clearly at the moment he’s a big risk.
“Obviously if you have three or four injuries in the same position you haven’t got depth. That’s where we find ourselves and it’s coincided with the fact we can’t play Kurt. We’re a little bit stretched, to say the least.”
— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) September 22, 2017
Hughes will be relieved his makeshift defence does not have to contend with Diego Costa, who arrived in Spain on Friday to complete his impending move to Atletico Madrid.
The Stoke boss lamented Costa’s departure as “a real shame” and admits he will miss the striker’s combative presence in the Premier League.
“I don’t know the whole circumstances, but from a football fans’ point of view I think he’s a loss to the Premier League,” said Hughes.
“I used to really enjoy watching him go about his business because he was different – he had an edge, and the reaction of other players to him was interesting.
“Whatever happened and why, maybe both sides should have got together and got a real positive out of it. As it is he’s left Chelsea and the Premier League and that’s a real shame.”
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