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Published: 20:31 | 6/4/16

Wilson close to return

Stoke City defender Marc Wilson is "not too far away" from a return to full training following knee ligament damage.

The Republic of Ireland defender suffered knee ligament damage during the Potters' 1-0 FA Cup defeat to Crystal Palace on 30 January, but Stoke assistant manager Mark Bowen says the 28-year-old is closing in on a return to training.

Wilson is desperate to return to first-team action before the end of the season as he looks to secure a place in Martin O'Neill's 23-man Ireland squad for this summer's European Championships in France.

"I've been told this morning, the quote was 'he's not far away'," Bowen said.

"He's desperate, the same as Shay Given, to get himself fit and play a few games before the season finishes so he is ready for the Irish campaign.

"He's not joined in with the lads yet. He's been doing a lot of work with the physios, straight line running and changing direction. It's positive news that he's looking to get involved soon.

"In the three years we've been here he's been an integral part of what we've done. He's a fantastic professional who trains to the best of his ability and you miss him when he's not around the place."

Stoke full-back Glen Johnson hopes to return to full training in two weeks following the knee injury he sustained in the 3-1 win at Bournemouthon 13 February.

"Glen is progressing well," Bowen continued.

"He's hopeful within a couple of weeks, two or three weeks, that he can get back in – he certainly hasn't given up on the season yet.

"He's looking to get back into the frame for the last few games."

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