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Wilson closes in on Stoke comeback

Marc Wilson hopes to take the next step towards his Stoke City comeback on Tuesday following the broken leg he suffered three months ago.

• Blog: Pulis under pressure

Stoke's left-back has been included in Tony Pulis' squad for a behind-closed-doors friendly with Northampton Town.

Potters manager Pulis is eager to ease the former Portsmouth defender back into his first-team plans after Wilson completed a full week's training with the first-team squad.

Wilson has been out of action since suffering the injury in October against Sunderland at the Britannia Stadium.

"There will be quite a few senior pros playing in the game and, fingers crossed, Marc will be one of them," said Stoke assistant manager Dave Kemp.

"He has been coming along nicely in training Stoke and we will take advice from the physios before deciding whether this is the game for him.

"Hopefully it is because we all want to see Marc back as soon as possible because he's such a big player for us."

Wilson, who prefers a central defensive role, has been converted into a left-back by Pulis, in light of Stoke's failure to buy an specialist in that position.

His performances over the last two seasons have been impressive enough for him to win a place in Giovanni Trapattoni's Republic of Ireland side, where he had just won his place back at international level when he suffered the injury.

"He been a big loss for us," Kemp admitted. "He's done brilliantly for us, so much so that he played for Ireland at left-back before his injury.

"That's a measure of how well he's done and what an adaptable and quality player he is."

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