Stoke have been hit by the news that Xherdan Shaqiri is at least another two weeks away from making a return to action.
The Swiss international is still battling back from the calf injury he picked up on the opening day of the season against Middlesbrough and is no nearer to making a return.
The injury is a huge source of frustration for everyone as Shaqiri was looking sharp after Euro 2016 and opened his account against Boro before injury struck.
Shaqiri has lost all his fitness, and as Stoke prepare to face Crystal Palace this weekend in desperate need of a boost, assistant boss Mark Bowen could not offer one.
“He’s probably going to be another couple of weeks, I’ve just heard that now,” Bowen revealed. “He had a really good pre-season, started the first game (at Middlesbrough) and got his goal, but because of this injury it’s almost like he hasn’t had a pre-season now.
“All the work he’s done after coming back from the Euros, it’s almost been wasted because his fitness levels have dropped again as he hasn’t done anything for so long.
“He’s going to be a miss for us. It’s looked as if, I wouldn’t say a different mentality, but a focus coming back, had points to prove and this was going to be his season.”