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Stoke woe as Beattie set to miss rest of season

Stoke have been dealt a major injury blow as star striker James Beattie looks set to miss the rest of the season with a torn thigh muscle.

The frontman has scored six goals for the Potters since signing from Sheffield United in January for £3.5m and has been one of the major reasons for Stoke's upturn in form this year.

However, the club are technically still embroiled in a relegation battle and news that Beattie is waiting for the results of a second scan to discover if he will feature again this term takes their casualty count up to six.

The Potters are also without Danny Higginbotham for the rest of the campaign after he was ruled out on Thursday because of an operation on a prolapsed disc. Andy Wilkinson and Amdy Faye also have back complaints with Salif Diao and Mama Sidibe missing with knee problems.

Boss Tony Pulis said: ''It looks like Danny is out for the season. He is having an operation and James had torn his thigh.

''We have lost half our team at the moment but this is a chance for other players to come in and show their worth.''

Meanwhile, Rory Delap intends to ignore the nagging pain in his shoulder for the remaining games of the season and help Stoke's fight against the drop.

The discomfort is a legacy of being the team's long-throw specialist and something he has coped with since December, but Delap says he will continue to play through the pain at Craven Cottage this weekend.

He said: "I have got a bit of a sore shoulder but hopefully I can get that sorted out in the summer. We cannot afford to relax. If you do that you could end up without a point between now and the end of the season.

"Even if we do stay up we don't want to go into the next campaign on a poor run of form."

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