Sidwell must step into injured Whelan’s slot at Stoke City

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In desperate news for Stoke fans it looks as they could be set for a spell without one of their most consistent players so far this campaign, with Glenn Whelan hobbling out of training with a knee injury.

The news was broken by Whelan’s wife Karen who has stated that he will go for a scan on Wednesday to determine the extent of the injury.

“Not a good sight wen Ye see the hubby hobbling out of a car into the garden #knee #scantomorrow“, she tweeted.

While it will be a blow to Mark Hughes’ side, as they look to really turn on the power this season, having started in a very average fashion, they have a ready-made replacement in the shape of Steve Sidwell.

The flame-haired midfielder is reportedly one of the Potters’ highest paid players, yet has only featured three times this campaign, making just a solitary start.

The forgotten midfielder now needs game time now needs to be played in order to maintain the stability in the centre of the park that Whelan brought to the Britannia, as well as giving him the opportunity to earn a regular starting spot.

Fulham may have been very poor in 2013-14, but Sidwell was probably their only bright spark.

According to Whoscored.com’s ratings he was their only starter to achieve an average rating of seven or more, and chipped in with seven goals and two assists in a stand-out campaign for the former Reading man.

His experience could be key in ensuring that Stoke, who currently sit 16th in the table can continue to move in an upwardly fashion, as opposed to looking over their shoulder at the possibility of relegation.

The Potters are set to host Swansea on Sunday on what could turn out to be a crunch tie in the fight to top the sides languishing in mid-table obscurity.

Priced at 13/10 for the win Hughes’ men can ill afford to slip closer to the bottom three, as they look to follow up their ninth-placed finish last year, with a top-half berth at the end of the season, priced up at 21/10.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.