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Monday, December 3, 2012
Owen suffers setback

David Instone

Michael Owen's frustrating Stoke City career took a further downturn after he suffered another minor setback shortly before the victory at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

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The former England forward was due to be among the substitutes at the Hawthorns after leading scorer Peter Crouch was ruled out on the morning of the match prior to forthcoming dental surgery.

But Owen felt a problem with his hamstring and, on such a cold afternoon, it was decided that he should not be risked.

Stoke had an under-21 game at Sunderland on Monday afternoon for which the striker might normally have been considered.

He has not featured since the end of October and is desperately short of game time, but has set his sights on being in contention for Saturday's Premier League game at Aston Villa.

Owen was signed on a free transfer in August, becoming one of the highest-profile players in Stoke's history.

But he was initially kept out by the goal-scoring form of Crouch as manager Tony Pulis opted to play with only one up front, and has recently suffered more of the injury concerns that have disrupted his career. He has yet to start, or score, for the club.

The need to have him back in action has become less urgent with Stoke's excellent recent run of results. They have won four and drawn one of their last five games to climb to ninth in the table.




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