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Prem Report Card: Stoke

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Imbula stars as Stoke end on a high

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Mark Hughes continues to frustrate

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 By PA Sport

Stoke's Ryan Shawcross out for 3-4 weeks with back injury - Mark Hughes

Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross is set to be sidelined for up to a month by a back injury, Potters boss Mark Hughes has revealed.

Shawcross, 28, came off in the first half of Saturday's 3-0 Premier League loss against Leicester at the King Power Stadium.

And giving an update on the central defender on Monday, Hughes said: "Thankfully it is not a recurrence of the back injury which required surgery [over the summer], so that is a positive.

"Unfortunately, the negative is that he has soft muscle damage and at the moment it is looking like it will probably be three to four weeks, I would think."

Since Shawcross made his return in October from a back operation, Stoke have lost only five times in all competitions.

Hughes added: "It is a blow to us because since Ryan came back into the team, we've been on a good run. It was certainly detrimental to our performance on Saturday."

Hughes was speaking at his prematch news conference ahead of Tuesday's Capital One Cup semifinal second leg at Liverpool, which Stoke head into trailing 1-0 from the first leg.

The Welshman expects forward Marko Arnautovic, who has been carrying a hamstring problem and sat out Saturday's match, to be available for selection.

Hughes said scans had shown there was "just a little bit of tightness" rather than any major damage to Arnautovic's hamstring, and that Stoke would make sure the Austria international, having trained on Monday, was "primed and ready to go" for Tuesday night's clash.

Potters midfielder Geoff Cameron remains sidelined with an ankle injury, but may be able to return for Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round tie at Crystal Palace.

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