Stoke boss Mark Hughes has welcomed the news that defender Robert Huth could be back in the team before Christmas following surgery.
The German has had exploratory knee surgery and was badly missed as Stoke were hammered 4-0 at Everton last Saturday.
Hughes said: "We're really pleased. It's as good as we could have hoped for. We didn't know the extent of the injury until the surgeon actually went in and
had a look.
"He found an issue with the knee that needed addressing and repairing and that's been done. By all accounts prior to the operation, the best-case scenario was what we found.
"Thankfully, if everything goes well, he could be back in three or four weeks.
"Knowing Robert, he continues to surprise me in terms of how well he gets back from little niggles and he will always put his hand up if there's any opportunity to play.
"That's a great trait that he has. Maybe in the past it has been to his detriment because he's probably played and compromised himself."
Hughes refused to blame Huth's absence for the weekend scoreline, saying: "It's too easy and too convenient to say that because we didn't have Robert, that was the reason we got beat.
"There were other parts of our game we didn't execute well enough. You'll
always miss Robert's experience and his presence, and he comes across to the
opposition as a huge barrier to overcome."
Hughes is also standing by Marc Muniesa who made his Premier League debut as Huth's replacement.
"I thought Marc did okay. I thought it was important that I tested Marc at Premier League level," he added.
"Marc certainly wasn't the reason we got beaten, I thought he was one of our
better performers in the back four. We just need to be a little bit better collectively."
What will be the outcome in the match Stoke vs Cardiff?