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Football Reporting


Stoke City sweating on Mikel’s fitness ahead of Wycombe Wanderers trip

The former Nigeria captain was forced off with a calf tightness in Saturday’s Championship outing at Sheffield Wednesday

Stoke City manager Michael O’Neill is yet to decide if John Obi Mikel will be available for their Championship trip to Wycombe Wanderers on Wednesday.

Mikel left Hillsborough on Saturday with a tightness around his calf and he was replaced by Jordan Cousins in the 76th minute.

It was the first time the former Chelsea midfielder was substituted in a game this season and he could now miss his first game of the season on Wednesday.

The 33-year-old has played every minute of Stoke City’s matches so far this season prior to Saturday’s goalless draw against Sheffield Wednesday and he has been the Potters’ stand-in captain since September due to an injury to Ryan Shawcross.

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Mikel’s injury is now a worry for O’Neill who has a handful of players on the sidelines.

“John came off on Saturday and we’ll assess him today, but he is an extreme doubt for the game tomorrow,” O’Neill told the club website.

“None of the other injured players are able to return at this minute in time.

“We are still without both goalkeepers, Joe [Alle], Jordan Thompson and Steven Fletcher.

“We are down a few bodies, there is no doubt about that, but it will give opportunities for others to come in.”

Having suffered a defeat and a draw in their last two matches, Stoke City, who are placed eighth in the Championship, will aim to compound Wycombe Wanderers’ woes in the relegation zone.

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Meanwhile, manager O’Neill confirmed that captain Ryan Shawcross and youngster Thibaud Verlinden would be part of his matchday squad on Wednesday after they played 70 minutes for the U23s against Crystal Palace U23 on Monday night.

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