sport

Assaidi injury blow for Stoke

Stoke winger Oussama Assaidi has been ruled out for up to six weeks with a torn medial knee ligament.

The on-loan Liverpool player suffered the injury in training during Stoke's warm weather break in Dubai this week.

The Morocco international has impressed for the Potters this season, scoring four goals, including the winner against Chelsea in December.

Assaidi will stay with Stoke for treatment instead of returning to Liverpool, and manager Mark Hughes said: "It was our only negative from the trip away.

"Unfortunately he's torn his knee ligament and he's going to be out, so they tell me, for between four and six weeks.

"That's a real blow because he was looking really sharp and having a real effect on games for us. But given the medical cover that we have here and the quality of the staff, I'm sure he'll be back sooner rather than later."

Hughes has also denied rumours that Robert Huth has suffered a setback in his recovery from knee surgery.

The defender went under the knife at the end of November and it had initially been hoped he would only be missing for around three to four weeks.

Huth has made slow progress, but Hughes said: "He's doing very well.

"He's trained again with the group on Thursday. He's completed two full training sessions with the squad now. We're able to manage the injury and it seems to be reacting well to work so that's encouraging for him and for us.

"He's progressed quicker in the last couple of days when people have been saying that he's had a setback so I don't really know where that story's come from.

"He probably needs game time now. If we can get him playing then obviously that's the next step for him.

"We have games organised that he could play a part in so, as long as he's dealing with the training load that we're giving him, which he seems to be, then we'll look to get him game time next week and the week after."

Hughes has also confirmed that goalkeeper Jack Butland is in talks with Leeds about a possible loan move.

Hughes said: "I think there's been further contact (with Leeds) since we came back. We're hopeful that might be concluded. If he can go there and get games then obviously that will help his development."