Saturday, 1 December 2012

Crouch Defies Medics to Ensure Stoke Aren't Toothless

Brave striker Peter Crouch is preparing to ignore medical advice to add some bite to Stoke's strike-force at West Brom.

The England frontman had two teeth knocked out and two more rammed down into his jaw in a clash with Newcastle defender Fabriccio Coloccini during the Potters' 2-1 win on Wednesday.

Midweek match-winner Cameron Jerome is on standby for a rare start, but Crouch is desperate to play through the pain - which saw him close to fainting against the Toon.

Crouch has seen a specialist and is scheduled to undergo extensive dental surgery.

Medics have ordered him to wear a brace to protect his mouth from further damage and are insisting he sits out of Saturday's match at the Hawthorns - but Crouch wants to play.

"Crouchy had two teeth knocked out and two knocked back in," revealed Stoke boss Tony Pulis. "He is going to have surgery, but he is desperate to get a brace so he can get out and play.

"It'd be like a gum-shield, in that it will protect his gums until things settle down.

"He's a great lad and he just wants to be involved. The medics think it's a risk, but we will make a decision before we go to West Brom. Crouchy's attitude just typifies what we're all about."

That Stoke spirit was no more evident than in their late rally which left Newcastle stunned.

Jerome set up the equaliser for Jonathan Walters before lashing in the winner himself.

Although veteran striker Michael Owen appears fit to make a return, Pulis promised: "It wouldn't be fair on Cameron if Michael stepped in just because of his name.

"Cameron's attitude has been brilliant. He could have gone out on loan a couple of times this season. So for him to come on and score a goal is very pleasing."

Defender Andy Wilkinson is available for the game against a traditional Midlands foe, whom the Potters had the "Indian sign" over until they suffered a 2-1 defeat at the Britannia last January.

It was Stoke's first defeat in 11 against the Baggies.

But Albion have been transformed into front-runners this term under Steve Clarke's management, even stealing summer signing Goran Popov from under Stoke's noses.

"That was unfortunate, but in the end we couldn't do that deal and he's gone to a very good football club," noted Pulis.

"Now Steve's got a strong, well-balanced squad there at West Brom. I'm expecting a tough game as they have got players who can hurt you.

"It's Steve's first managerial job and he has done fantastically well. I like going to the other Midlands grounds and though we'll get some stick from their supporters we've got great respect for West Brom.

"I might make a couple of changes and I've got the likes of Cameron and Kenwyne Jones who are pressing for starts."

Pulis also revealed Argentinian midfielder Diego Arismendi has had his contract terminated after failing to establish at Stoke.

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