Marc Wilson is primed to make his return from four months out with a broken leg against Fulham on Saturday.
Stoke City manager Tony Pulis appears ready to give Wilson a starting role at Craven Cottage after being impressed with the way the Republic of Ireland international has proved his fitness in recent weeks.
Wilson has impressed in two friendly matches in the last two weeks and Pulis is eager to see the left-back return to the fold as his side look to secure their sixth successive season in the top flight.
The defender has not figured in the side since breaking his leg against Sunderland in October last year, but Pulis said: "We are desperate to get Marc playing again and he needs to play. He's strolled through rehab, but now he's on the launch pad ready to go."
Pulis is keen to improve on a record of just one victory in their last 22 away games, but it appears January transfer deadline signing Brek Shea will have to wait for his full debut.
Shea, 22, has also been impressive in friendly games since his arrival from FC Dallas, but the midfielder may have to settle for a place in the squad.
"I think Brek has had nearly three or four months out with injury and so this is like a pre-season for him," added Pulis. "He's a fit lad, but whether we start with him or not on Saturday remains to be seen."
Pulis also revealed that Michael Owen could be sidelined at Fulham after feeling his thigh in training on Tuesday.