Despite Michael Owen claiming he is 'raring to go', Tony Pulis puts striker's return on hold

Stoke striker has not played since October, and is yet to start a game for the Potters

Michael Owen's hopes of receiving a welcome birthday present from Stoke manager Tony Pulis have been put on hold.

Owen declared himself "raring to go" after coming through 70 minutes of a behind-closed-doors friendly on Tuesday in a bid to step up his fitness after struggling with groin and hamstring niggles.

Ahead of Saturday's visit of Everton to the Britannia Stadium, there was the prospect of Owen making his first appearance for Stoke since October 27, the last of his four substitute outings since joining the club at the start of September.

But ahead of the former England striker's 33rd birthday tomorrow, Pulis says Owen still needs at least another week of fitness work and another reserve outing before he can be thrown into the first team.

Pulis said: "Michael did smashing on Tuesday, came through 70 minutes, but he needs more work on the training ground, a bit more strength

"He needs another couple of weeks of full training, another game or two first before we chuck him back in.

"That's because every time we've tried to get him in there he has broken down, and maybe that's because we've tried to push him a little bit."

Pulis, meanwhile, has reacted with scepticism to the prospect of netting being erected at football grounds around the country.

The idea was suggested by Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor in the wake of Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand being hit by an object thrown from the crowd in Sunday's derby victory at Manchester City.

Pulis said: "There were 50-odd thousand people there and we had a mindless few who caused a problem.

"All the time it's about finding a balance because I thought it was a fantastic game, soured by a couple of incidents off the pitch, which was disappointing.

"But netting? I'm not sure that's the right way of doing it.

"With the cameras and monitoring we have at grounds today, these people will hopefully be found and then banned from football for the rest of their lives.

"If you do that, it's a great deterrent to stop these people from doing it again."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz