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The Potters' boss is concerned over the fitness of Glenn Whelan, Andy Wilkinson and Marc Wilson ahead of Monday's crucial game against Sunderland in the battle to beat the drop

Stoke manager Tony Pulis has growing concerns that he could be without three key players for Monday's trip to face Sunderland.

The Potters' boss fears that Glenn Whelan, Andy Wilkinson and Marc Wilson could all miss the crucial game in the race to avoid relegation at the Stadium of Light.

Whelan is struggling with a groin problem, Wilson could be sidelined with a hamstring injury and Wilkinson has failed to recover from a back problem.

"Marc is still a concern for us," Pulis told reporters. "Andy came off last week and is a concern and the same with Glenn.

"So there's three people we are not sure of and we could certainly do with one of the defenders being fit."

There is some good news for the Welshman, though, as Matthew Etherington could return to take his place on the bench against the Black Cats.

"Matty is in a much better position than a week ago," Pulis reported enthusiastically.

"He will definitely be involved. Whether we start with him or not, we'll have to see."

Stoke pulled away from the relegation zone to sit in 12th place in the league with a narrow win against Norwich last time out, but could drop back into trouble if Sunderland take all three points on Monday.

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