Stoke boss Mark Hughes has revealed that Jack Butland is closing in on a first-team return following 11 months on the sidelines.
The England international has not featured for club or country since suffering an ankle injury during the Three Lions’ 3-2 friendly victory over Germany in March 2016 and he has since undergone several operations in an attempt to correct the problem.
The 23-year-old’s latest surgery took place in December and he is currently undergoing a rehabilitation programme in Qatar, with Hughes revealing that the stopper has suffered no ill-effects since last going under the knife.
The Welshman said: “He’s had no setbacks – touch wood – since the last operation so the feeling is we’re very hopeful that he’ll be back very soon.”
Hughes hopes to have the former Birmingham youngster available once again in the near future, although he confirmed Butland must first get the go-ahead from his consultant.
“I think he’s got a meeting with a consultant in a week or two’s time and I think that’s when he’ll hopefully be given a green light to do anything he wants in terms of full integration, so we’re looking forward to that,” Hughes added.
Stoke will once again be without Butland for Sunday’s trip to White Hart Lane to face a Tottenham team that have won the two previous meetings between the two sides by a 4-0 scoreline.
The Potters are priced at 7.50 to reverse that trend and secure all three points on Sunday, while Spurs are available at 1.44 and the draw is on offer at 4.75.