A boost of sorts has been handed to us ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Stoke, with news that their captain and star centre-back Ryan Shawcross looks likely miss the game after failing to recover from a back injury.
The defender was in fact linked with a move to Tyneside this summer after contract talks at The Britannia were believed to have stalled, however he has since signed a new four-year deal at the club, well and truly putting that rumour to bed.
Back to tomorrow’s game and Mark Hughes’ side will also have to manage without another of his centre-backs tomorrow, with USA international Geoff Cameron ruled out having been forced off with a hamstring injury in their 2-2 draw with Manchester Utd last weekend.
Stoke have been playing three at the back for most of the season, and whilst they do have a very capable trio of new signings Kurt Zouma, Kevin Wimmer and Bruno Martins Indi available to come in, Shawcross and Cameron have started in 3 of their 4 games so far this season, meaning they’ll be forced into a reshuffle.
Below shows the Stoke team played at West Brom – their last away game in the Premier League. As you can see, Cameron was used at right-wing back in and Shawcross at centre-back, however their absence means we are likely to see new £18m signing Kevin Wimmer come in from the cold, whilst Mame Biram Diouf could fill in down the right hand side.