(Reuters) – Stoke City manager Mark Hughes’ delight at skipper Ryan Shawcross’ return from injury in their League Cup win over Chelsea has been dampened by news of a hamstring injury to Marc Muniesa that has sidelined the defender for at least a month.
Shawcross played the entire 120 minutes before Stoke knocked holders Chelsea out in a penalty shootout, his first game since he had surgery to fix a back problem in August.
Stoke have kept just two clean sheets in 10 Premier League games this season without him and Shawcross is in contention to play against struggling Newcastle United in the Premier League on Saturday.
Steve McClaren’s side are second from bottom in the table, six points below Stoke who occupy 14th place.
“Ryan Shawcross looked fine, which was pleasing,” Hughes told reporters at his pre-match news conference before the Newcastle game.
“It was a huge test for him given that he had been out for a couple of months, but he came through the game and showed his qualities, both in terms of play and ability as well as leadership.
“I don’t think we ever envisaged him having to come through 120 minutes on his first game back, but he managed to get through it.
“Hopefully, he will be available for us on Saturday. It was a huge lift for us all to see him back out there on Tuesday night.”
Spaniard Muniesa, however, tore his hamstring five minutes into the second half of the midweek tie and will be out for at least a month, Hughes said.
“Marc Muniesa has quite a serious hamstring injury.
“It’s unfortunate for him and for us because it is a grade two, or even a grade three tear which means he is looking at a minimum of three or four weeks.
“It hasn’t been the best week for us in terms of losing defenders, because leading into the Chelsea game we were threadbare and losing Marc hasn’t helped us.”
Defender Geoff Cameron is still recovering from an injury he picked up against Watford on Saturday, but right-back Glen Johnson is back in training and could play at the weekend, the manager said.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaulru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)