Stoke boss Tony Pulis said he will give Matthew Etherington and Robert Huth every chance to prove their fitness in time for the FA Cup Final.Etherington is in a race against the clock to be fit for Saturday’s Wembley showdown against Manchester City after tearing his hamstring in Stoke’s 3-0 win over Wolves two weeks ago.
Huth, meanwhile, is also a doubt as he picked up a knee injury in Stoke’s 3-1 win over Arsenal last Sunday.
The pair are crucial to Stoke’s cause at Wembley and Pulis will give them every minute they need in order to prove their fitness.
“They are going along nice and steady at the moment and doing light training,” Pulis said.
“We will give them right up until the game. It will be a last-minute call.”
“They will have fitness tests and then I will speak to the medical team. We will decide whether it is worth the chance or it is too risky.”
“The two of them are desperate to play. We are desperate for them to play but it is just whether it is right for the team.”
“My most difficult selection decision? Yes it is, in respect of it being such a big game. It is important we get it right for the club and the team.”
Stoke have also qualified for the Europa League – thanks to Manchester City.
Roberto Mancini’s men qualified for the Champions League after their 1-0 win over Tottenham on Tuesday night and that means Pulis’ side are in Europe for the first time in 37 years, regardless of whether they win on Saturday.
“You would not have dreamed of it a few years ago,” said Pulis.
“Stoke in an FA Cup Final, perhaps finishing in the top 10 and being in Europe. It is a bit special.”
With the FA Cup Final to look forward to and a foray into Europe for only the third time in their 147-year history, Stoke fans and Pulis’ players could be forgiven for letting their minds wonder and dream of glory.
But Pulis has warned his side against complacency and added: “The important thing now is that everybody keeps their feet on the ground and realise what a ride we are on.”
“As quickly as you rise, if you take your eye off the ball, you can just as quickly fall.”