Michael Owen to undergo new training programme to prevent injury

Potters manager Tony Pulis is confident the England striker will see an improvement in his fitness after focusing on strengthening the areas that can lead to muscle problems
Stoke City striker Michael Owen is looking to put his frequent injury problems behind him after Potters manager Tony Pulis revealed that the club are working on a new programme to minimise the time the 31-year-old spends on the sidelines.

The club have set up a back-strengthening exercise aimed at preventing muscular damage, as well as working more cautiously on his right leg where, at the age of 19, he ruptured one of his three hamstrings, leaving him with just two.

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Pulis is confident that his medical team will help Owen become more resistant to injuries as the former Manchester United player works towards making his first start at the Britannia Stadium.

"We do well here on injuries," Pulis told reporters. "I think we were the second best in the Premier League last year in terms of how few players we lost to muscle problems.

"That's because we work hard. The players do a lot of pre-work ­before we train, never mind before games.

"We are very conscious that a lot of problems, whether hamstrings or whatever, actually come from the back. We work hard at strengthening those areas."

Owen made only 52 appearances during his three years at Old Trafford in all competitions but has already featured twice for Pulis' side.