Stoke City manager O'Neill on Mikel's availability for Derby County trip

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John Obi Mikel is still a doubt for Stoke City's Championship trip to Derby County, according to manager Michael O'Neill.

The Nigeria international is yet to recover from a calf injury he picked up since the Potters' goalless draw against Sheffield Wednesday on November 28.

Having played 14 matches in the English second-tier in this campaign, Mikel missed his third straight game on Wednesday as Stoke City suffered a 2-1 loss to Cardiff City.

O'Neill's side dropped to eighth in the Championship table after the defeat, however, the former Chelsea midfielder still needs to wait for his return to action and might miss the trip to Pride Park Stadium on Saturday.

"We will wait to see on Tyrese. Jacob collided with an advertising hoarding and felt his shoulder,” O’Neill told the club website.

“Jacob had probably run his race. He gave us so much on Saturday (1-0 win against Middlesbrough) and also against Cardiff.

"We are hopeful, without being definitive, about Fletcher and Jordan, but the Derby game might come too soon for John Obi Mikel. I don’t think any of the other injured players will be available.”

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Mikel moved to the bet365 Stadium on a free transfer after leaving Turkish club Trabzonspor in the wake of the coronavirus crisis in June.

The former Nigeria captain has made himself a key player for O'Neill's team since he returned to England and he was appointed as stand-in captain back in October following injuries to Ryan Shawcross and Joe Allen.

In addition to the worrying team update, Stoke City will be without James McClean after the Irish midfielder picked up his fifth yellow card of the season on Wednesday, and he will consequently serve a one-match ban.