Stoke City: Charlie Adam will return when he's ready, says Tony Pulis
TONY Pulis has told a grief-stricken Charlie Adam to name his own comeback date after the death of his father this week.
Adam seems certain to miss tomorrow's trip to Tottenham (3pm) after being granted compassionate leave.
Pulis has assured Adam he can take as long as he needs before returning to the club.
The 27-year-old Scot returned immediately to the family home in Dundee after his father's body was discovered there on Monday evening.
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Police say there are no suspicious circumstances.
Charlie Adam senior, who was 50, had been a midfielder himself for half-a-dozen Scottish clubs in the 1980s and 1990s.
The tragedy has cast a shadow over Stoke's training ground this week, and with Adam, pictured, missing tomorrow, Pulis is expected to turn to Dean Whitehead to fill the gap in his starting line-up.
That means a return to the side which performed so solidly, if unspectacularly, in the goalless draw at Aston Villa a fortnight ago when Adam was serving a one-match suspension.
Adam's absence from White Hart Lane also means a delay in locking horns again with Spurs ace Gareth Bale after they clashed in a pre-season friendly when the Scotsman was still at Liverpool.
Bale is set to return for the hosts following a hamstring injury he picked up earlier this month.
Pulis is unlikely to contemplate any further changes – despite Ryan Shotton's availability after a one-match ban – because of Andy Wilkinson's impressive return against Everton last Saturday.
Meanwhile, veteran Rory Delap says he is prepared to leave the club before the end of his contract in the summer.
The 36-year-old midfielder is ready to drop down the divisions in search of first-team football.
Delap, who has recovered from a hernia operation, came off the bench in the opening game at Reading, but has not played since.
He has become an icon at Stoke because of his throws and has made just over 200 appearances since joining from Sunderland in October 2006.
STOKE'S matchday programme has beaten 60 rivals to win the Northern Programme Club's publication of the year award.
"We are proud of this achievement," said chief executive Tony Scholes.
"This is a very special season as we celebrate our 150th anniversary and we set out to produce a publication which reflected that."