Stoke City v Manchester City: Michael Owen in contention for FA Cup clash
STOKE striker Michael Owen has put himself in pole position to play a major part in trying to knock Manchester City out of the FA Cup this weekend.
The former England striker came through the first 45 minutes of yesterday's 1-1 friendly draw with Derby at the Football Association's St George's Park complex near Burton.
That, together with last weekend's first goal for the club in the 3-1 league defeat at Swansea, guarantees him at least a place on the bench for Saturday's big fourth-round tie against City (12.45pm).
"That was a big goal for Michael because I know how much it meant to him to reach 150 in the Premier League," said Stoke boss Tony Pulis.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
"It's a great achievement, and even with all his experience it won't do any harm psychologically.
"This latest 45 minutes just keeps him ticking over nicely.
"He's come through it all right, as did quite a few other senior players, so it was a worthwhile exercise."
Jermaine Pennant played the first 45 minutes after returning from a loan spell at Wolves, while Rory Delap also figured in the first half following his recovery from groin surgery.
Mama Sidibe played the opening 45 after his loan stint at Sheffield Wednesday.
A younger Stoke team played the second half and scored through youth-team striker James Alabi.
Meanwhile, Pulis has confirmed that American international Brek Shea will not join in the transfer window.
Pulis had been hoping to study the 22-year-old utility player in a week-long stay, but negotiations with the MLS appear to have hit a stumbling block to prevent any deal before the end of the month.
"I can't see him coming now," Pulis stated. "We'll see what the future brings."
FANS are reminded that tickets remain on general sale for the Manchester City tie priced £20 for adults, £10 for over-65s and £5 for under-17s.