Tony Pulis cautious over Owen fitness

Michael Owen, Ashley Cole
© PA Photos
Stoke City manager Tony Pulis suggests that Michael Owen will continue to start on the bench.

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis has insisted that Michael Owen will not be rushed into the starting XI amid concerns over the striker's fitness.

The former England forward, who has made two substitute appearances for Stoke, is short on match practice and has suffered from injury woes throughout his career.

"Michael has been fantastic since he walked through the door here, and he looked fit and sharp when he came on at Chelsea," said Pulis.

"It's a long, tough season though, and there is no way we will be rushing him into things quickly which could put him at risk of picking up an injury.

"We will bide our time with him and ease him into things, as we have done, but when he is in the team, we are confident that he can score goals for us."

Owen is expected to start on the bench for Stoke when they take on Swansea City away in the Premier League this weekend.

Michael Owen, Ashley Cole
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