The end of last term saw emotional scenes at the bet365 stadium, with the Potters sent down to English football’s second tier. Paul Lambert failed to save a sinking ship, and Stoke’s 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace saw them drop down into the Championship.
Tears from fan favourite Jack Butland seemed to suggest an end to his time with the Staffordshire club, but the impressive shot stopper still remains. Another player that hasn’t left Stoke’s ranks is Dutchman Ibrahim Afellay.
Told to stay away from the club by then boss Lambert because of disciplinary reasons, the temperamental Afellay has been seen as a match winner by new coach Gary Rowett.
Looking to bounce straight back up to the big time, Stoke’s chances have taken a dent due to the injury Afellay sustained against Walsall earlier this month.
The Stoke Sentinel report that the midfielder will spend a long time on the sidelines, as a knee problem is more serious than originally hoped.
With this injury a reoccurring one for Afellay, the former Barcelona man will need to be mentally strong. Missing the majority of 2016 with ligament damage, Stoke have to plan for another rehabilitation process.
Even with the 32-year-old missing significant game time, there is good news for Stoke City supporters. Bojan Krkic and Benik Afobe will both return to training this week after niggles kept them out of the St. Pauli friendly.