Stoke without key defensive duo for Aston Villa clash

According to Sky Sports, Stoke City will be missing both Ryan Shawcross and Marc Muniesa for their weekend clash against Aston Villa.

Injuries have blighted Stoke’s season so far, and the lack of defensive options will be a big worry for manager Mark Hughes. Club captain Ryan Shawcross has missed City’s last three games with a back injury, and has recently had an injected to fast track his return to the first-team.

Assistant manager Mark Bowen revealed the England international will miss the Villa game, but could return against Hull the following week. The injections are said to take 48 hours for Shawcross, but their weekend meet comes too soon for him to feature in. Elsewhere in the backline, Erik Pieters (hernia) and Marc Wilson (groin) are currently both sidelined too.

As for Muniesa, the former Barcelona defender has been ruled out of action for a minimum of four weeks. The Spaniard picked up a hamstring injury in Stoke’s 4-1 defeat against Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup fifth round, and now leaves Hughes with very few options, following the exit of Robert Huth in January.

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