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Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has confirmed that goalkeeper Jack Butland will be out of action for at least 10 weeks after undergoing surgery on a long-standing ankle injury.
The England international joins Swiss midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri and Senegalese striker Mame Biram Diouf on the sidelines, with none of them available for the Premier League visit of Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
Geoff Cameron and Egyptian winger Ramadan Sobhi could also miss out against Spurs after returning from international duty on Thursday, increasing the selection headache for a team still seeking their first Premier League win of the season.
“All reports are that (Butland’s) operation went really well,” Hughes told reporters on Friday.
“It was a little bit of scar tissue that was restricting movement of his tendon. The likelihood is that it will be between six and 10 weeks until we see him.”
Stoke lost 4-0 to Tottenham in the corresponding fixture last season, but Hughes said his team would take encouragement from their 1-0 victory at White Hart Lane.
“(Tottenham) have made a steady start, they are an outstanding team. Their performance here was arguably the best we came up against last season,” he added.
“We are working hard to make sure we make a better fist of it than we did last time out,” Hughes said.
“It’s been a week of frustration because we wanted a positive result leading into the break but we didn’t manage to do that.