The return of Danny Higginbotham
Stoke defender Danny Higginbotham has recently returned from his loan spell at Nottingham Forest after he suffered an injury, but he returns to uncertainty as his contract has only one year remaining.
To give Danny some games after being pipped to the left-back position by regular Marc Wilson, Pulis let him go out on loan to the Championship side during the January transfer window, playing six games under Steve Cotterill.
Higginbotham missed seven months of last season after sustaining cruciate ligament damage, which cruelly ruled him out of Stoke`s FA Cup final at Wembley. It`s fair to say the curly-haired lad has been a great server to the club, but with just one year left on his contract, the 33-year-old feels a lack of first-team action will force him to seek games elsewhere.
"I've got a year left here and you just don't know what will happen,' Higginbotham told The Sentinel.
'You want to be playing, but ultimately that's something that will be decided for me.
'I'd love to stay but if you're not playing it can be frustrating. Your career is soon over and you want to play in as many games as you can while you can.
'In the short term I'll train with the rest of the lads this season to keep my fitness up. And because I had so long out with the injury, I'll probably have just a week or two to myself in the summer to make sure I'm ready to go for pre-season training.'
The former Sunderland man does remain positive as he feels his fitness is slowly getting back to his best after the long spells away from the grass.
'I feel much better, physically and psychologically, after getting a few games," he added.
"However long you are out, that's how long it takes to get back to what you were and now I feel like I'm getting back to how I was before the injury.'
Wilson isn`t actually a natural left-back, although he has settled into the role quite comfortably, but if ever there came a time where he was either needed in midfield or injured then who would be the best back up? It`s Danny for me, even though he himself isn`t technically a left-back either. There a number of central defenders at the club with only Andy Wilkinson being a natural wing-back, however he is suited better to the right hand side, so out of all those central defenders, it`s Higginbotham with the more accomplished ability on that left hand side. If Higgy went then where would we turn for a back-up? Shotton; placing him somewhere else random for the hell of it? Wilko; trying him out on that side whist placing faith in the blatantly unproven right-back ability of Woodgate? Upson? Actually, we could give Upson a go? It`s Danny for me, and if he goes, we may have to consider drafting in a replacement. Raiding Wolves after they`ve been relegated for Jamie O`Hara would a good shout for me, but the only down fall in that idea is that he`s a midfielder like Wilson.