Ryan Shawcross is closing in on a return to first-team action for Stoke, but Mark Hughes insists his captain is still at least a fortnight away.
After a 45-minute run-out for the Under-21s last week, Shawcross played 90 minutes of a behind-closed-doors game on Thursday as he stepped up his rehabilitation from a summer back operation.
But while his progress has been encouraging, the 28-year-old centre-back will not be making his maiden first-team appearance of the season on Monday when Stoke take on Swansea away.
Asked about Shawcross on Thursday afternoon at his press conference to preview the Barclays Premier League match at the Liberty Stadium, Hughes said: “Today was another step up for him.
“We wanted him to get some more minutes and he completed 90, which is his first since the operation, so that is good.
“The initial idea was to give him 60, 65 or 70 today but he felt good so we left him on and he came through it, so that is encouraging.
“But he probably needs a couple more games before he is in consideration. He hasn’t had too many sessions with the senior group over the last couple of weeks, so he’ll need another couple of weeks I’m sure.”
Hughes added: “It is a case of making sure Ryan is ready to come back and that when he does, he is able to hit the ground running and be at the level he was before the injury.
“He’s progressing well, we are really pleased with where he is at the moment, and the key now is that he doesn’t get any adverse reactions to playing or training.”
Someone else who will not be involved in Monday’s game is Potters striker Mame Diouf, who has been given compassionate leave following the death of his mother, reportedly killed in a stampede during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
Hughes said of Diouf: “The likelihood is that he will come back early next week, but he’ll miss the game on Monday.”
The manager also said defender Marc Wilson is fit to make his return after missing two games with a calf problem, and that winger Xherdan Shaqiri should also be available having overcome his thigh complaint.
Goalkeeper Shay Given is set to miss out due to the knee injury he picked up on international duty with the Republic of Ireland.