Paul Lambert remains cautious on Ron Vlaar's chances of making the Stoke clash this weekend.
Vlaar has been absent for the past two games - Fulham and Man Utd - after being withdrawn at half-time in the clash with Southampton.
Vlaar injured his calf in that encounter and the skipper is working hard to get back as soon as possible for the festive period.
Lambert will assess the captain this week at Bodymoor Heath in the run-up to the Potters clash, which takes place on Saturday at 3pm.
Lambert will be hopeful but wouldn't be drawn on an early anaylsis.
He said: "Ron is doing alright at the moment.
"Whether Stoke is too early for him, I will have to wait and see."
Vlaar himself is desperate to return.
Vlaar said: "Like any other player, I do everything possible to remain at peak fitness but I felt my calf during the first half at St Mary's and it really stiffened up at half-time so there was no point in continuing.
"I was just delighted that the lads emerged from a very difficult game with all three points after a remarkable 3-2 win.
"Hopefully it won't be too long before I'm back because I remember how infuriating it was to be out of action last winter."
Gabby Agbonlahor will definitely miss the Potter encounter after picking up five bookings but Lambert will have Fabian Delph available again.
Lambert added: "Gabby being out is a blow. But on the plus side, Fabian is back. So that softens it a bit."
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