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Stoke City manager Mark Hughes remains hopeful that the key trio of Marko Arnautovic, Jonathan Walters and Glen Johnson will be fit to face Manchester United. The Potters make a trip to Old Trafford for the Premier League fixture on 2 February as they look to bounce back from the disappointment of the Capital One Cup and the FA Cup exit.
The last time these two teams faced each other on Boxing Day, Louis van Gaal's side suffered a 2-0 defeat. Bojan Krkic opened the scoring before Arnautovic doubled the lead in the first half at the Britannia Stadium.
Crystal Palace defeated Stoke 1-0 in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Hughes confirmed Arnautovic, Walters and the ex-Liverpool defender missed the clash due to fitness concerns and is backing them to be in contention for a place in the starting line-up against United.
"The likes of Marko Arnautovic, Jon Walters and Glen Johnson missed out at the weekend because they weren't fit. They had a light session today and if they don't get a reaction to that they should be available," Hughes said, as quoted by Stoke's official website.
However, Stoke will not be able to call upon the services of defenders Ryan Shawcross, Geoff Cameron and Marc Wilson. The latter suffered a "bad knee injury" during the FA Cup defeat to Palace and Hughes confirmed Wilson will out for three months due to a medial ligament injury, ruling out initial fears of cruciate ligament damage.
"Marc Wilson is unavailable. It's not cruciate ligament injury thankfully but it's the medial, so it'll be 10-12 weeks, so it's significant," the Stoke manager explained.
"It'll near-on rule him out for the season now but hopefully he'll get back. It's one you have to manage correctly which we always do and it should be straightforward in terms of recovery. Luckily it's not a cruciate which we feared when it happened."
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