No trial by TV for Michael Owen, says Stoke City boss Tony Pulis
TONY Pulis says Michael Owen has no case to answer after his late-night television appearance ahead of the home clash with Fulham tomorrow.
The former England striker didn't get home until the early hours of yesterday morning after working as a studio pundit in London during Sky's Champions League coverage.
Pulis said there was no issue because Owen isn't fit for tomorrow's game – and he is sure the late-night travel will not have aggravated his hamstring injury.
"He won't be involved on Saturday," said Pulis, "and he was in at 8.45am working.
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"If he was going to be involved on Saturday, then it might have been different.
"He has a driver, and he sits in a big car. He's not the biggest man in the world so he can stretch out, sleep going down there and sleep coming back.
"We'll let him know if he's doing things he shouldn't be."
Pulis said Owen, who has yet to start a game for Stoke, could be fit for next Wednesday's visit of Newcastle.
But the trip to West Bromwich Albion three days later is the more likely setting for his return from what will by then have been a five-week absence since the home draw with Sunderland on October 27.
"We hope Michael will be fit for the Newcastle game, whether we involve him I'm not sure," Pulis explained.
"But the West Brom game most definitely, fingers crossed. He'll have had 10 days of integrating into the group.
"We need to integrate him into the group first. From that point we need to see how he goes and if he passes that next stage then we can get him in.
"When he felt his hamstring again it was a case of us pushing him a little too quickly, so we don't want to just chuck him in this time."
Ryan Shotton is set for his first league start of the season tomorrow after deputising from the bench for the injured Andy Wilkinson (back) at West Ham on Monday.
Pulis hails Berbatov: Page 54