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Stoke have fingers crossed for returning Butland

Jack Butland is pushing for a return to action with Stoke City this weekend.

The 23-year-old goalkeeper was forced out of the weekend's Premier League season opener against Middlesbrough after sustaining an ankle injury in training the day before the match at the Riverside Stadium which ended 1-1, with Shay Given his replacement.

Butland missed the last two months of last season with an ankle problem suffered on international duty for England which had him sidelined until mid-July.

A mishap on the eve of the new campaign denied Butland a return on opening day but Potters assistant Mark Bowen suggests the club;s number one gloveman could be back for Saturday's home opener against Manchester City.

"Jack hasn't trained today but he has been out there, in the sunshine, with a big smile on his face which was good for us all to see," said Bowen.

"He tells me that he is feeling fine, and depending on how the rest of the week goes there may even be a chance of him being ready for the game on Saturday - although I say that with caution."

Bowen added: "Obviously, we have three or four days before then and anything can happen, but if he keeps on improving the way that he is, and he rests it up well over the next day, then who knows."

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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