Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has claimed that midfielder Stephen Ireland will be facing a lengthy injury layoff following a tackle that left him needing stitches.
A bemused Hughes told BBC Sport after Saturday's game at the Britannia Stadium: "We have lost Stephen for any number of weeks.
"He is in a bad way. He has a slice on his calf and needed 12 or 15 stitches. He came in at half-time, rolled his sock down, and everyone was taken aback by the severity of the gash."
Ireland was making only his 13th appearance of the season for the Potters.