Stoke City have Michael Owen on a scientific fitness regime.

The Sunday Mirror says Owen has started a programme of back-strengthening work designed to solve his niggling injuries.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis believes his club's sports science unit will help the former England striker overcome his hamstring problems.

Pulis said: "We do well here on injuries. I think we were the second best in the Premier League last year in terms of how few players we lost to muscle problems.

"That's because we work hard. The players do a lot of pre-work ­before we train, never mind before games.

"We are very conscious that a lot of problems, whether hamstrings or whatever, actually come from the back. We work hard at strengthening those areas."