Stoke defender hit by FA charge

Stoke City full-back Andy WilkinsonStoke defender Andy Wilkinson has been charged with violent conduct by the Football Association following an incident with Manchester City’s Mario Balotelli.

Wilkinson is alleged to have elbowed Balotelli during Stoke’s 1-1 draw with champions Manchester City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday. The incident was missed by the match officials, but after reviewing television footage the FA has decided to charge Wilkinson, who has until 6pm on Wednesday to respond to the charge.

If he is found guilty Wilkinson is likely to be handed a three-match ban. The FA’s statement read:

“Stoke City’s Andy Wilkinson has been charged by The FA with violent conduct following an incident in his side’s game against Manchester City on Saturday 15 September 2012.

“Wilkinson was involved in an incident with City’s Mario Balotelli, which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video. Wilkinson has until 6pm on Wednesday 19 September 2012 to respond to the charge.”

Stoke face a tough fixture at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, and Tony Pulis will need his defenders fully focused against an in form Chelsea side.