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Feb 27, 2013

Wilson ready to step in for banned Huth

Marc Wilson is ready to help Tony Pulis find an answer to the threat of West Ham United striker Andy Carroll and fill the void in the Stoke City defence left by team-mate Robert Huth.

• Blog: Recipe for disaster

Wilson has only just returned to action after four months out with a broken leg, but he is relishing the prospect of operating as a central defender, in place of the suspended Huth for the next three games.

Huth will not appeal his retrospective ban for violent conduct, which was imposed by the Football Association on Tuesday.

Referee Lee Probert missed the initial incident, when Huth landed a forearm into Fulham defender Phillip Senderos' face, but the FA have deemed the German defender will have to sit out games against the Hammers, Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion.

Stoke have decided against contesting the ban because of the weight of evidence against Huth, which would have most likely resulted in an extra one-match suspension for a frivolous appeal.

Huth's absence leaves Stoke manager Tony Pulis without a recognised central defender as a replacement, following the decision to allow Matthew Upson to move to Brighton and Hove Albion on loan last month.

Despite his lack of match action, Wilson is the favourite to partner Ryan Shawcross for the task of trying to contain West Ham striker Carroll and the former Portsmouth defender is relishing the prospect.

"I will play anywhere for the team and do a job. There was a time at Portsmouth when all the centre-halves were out and I played about 20 games there," he said.

"Andy Carroll is a good player and a strong boy. He will be a challenge, whoever is playing centre-half, and we'll have to set our stall out to mark him right."

Huth's absence will end his record of being the only Stoke player to play every minute of every fixture this season.

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