Stoke have been handed a boost by the news that striker Mamady Sidibe is set to be back quicker than first thought.
The burly striker was injured in the Potters' defeat to Tottenham last Saturday and looked to be sidelined for the rest of the season with a damaged Achilles tendon.
However after a successful operation, the player could be fit in time for Christmas, according to manager Tony Pulis.
"It is still a massive blow for the kid because he has not long recovered from a cruciate knee injury, and this has really taken him back again, so we are all feeling for him," Pulis told the club's official website.
"But he is a great lad and we will all give him a cuddle and stick by him.
"He is strong and will come through this, but it is a major disappointment for us because he is an important player for us."
Pulis will also be pleased to hear that record signing Kenwyne Jones could be in contention to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Jones was injured in their opening day defeat to Wolves, but the £8million man has recovered well to ease the problems up front, with midfielder Liam Lawrence also a possibility to make the squad.
"Kenwyne has an outside chance of featuring at Chelsea, so we will see how he is today and tomorrow," he added.
"If he is ready then he will play, but if he isn't we will give him the two-week international break to make sure he is fully right for the Aston Villa game.
"Liam is close as well and he looks as though he may make it for Saturday. He has been training this week and he is feeling okay, so all being well he should be available for the game."