Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has revealed he will be without the services of his captain Ryan Shawcross when Manchester United visit bet365 Stadium on Saturday.
The Premier League will return after two weeks of the international break. The 29-year-old suffered a back injury during a training session and he tweaked a ligament, which has forced him to sit out of the clash against his former club.
Shawcross has started in Stoke's first three league fixtures, including a 1-0 win over Arsenal. The centre-back has played every minute in the last 26 games and the clash against Jose Mourinho's side will be the first fixture he will miss since last December.
The defender signed a new four-year deal at Stoke and Hughes has expressed his dissatisfaction with Shawcross' latest injury setback.
"It's unfortunate because he's started the season really well and signing the contract was important for him and us," Hughes explained, as quoted by talkSPORT.
"It dragged on a little bit because these things can, but we got there in the end. We were always confident the deal would be signed. It's good news but a shame he's injured. He's going to be here for a long time and that's the key.
"Unfortunately Ryan has pulled up in training and is likely to miss certainly the weekend, hopefully it won't be any longer. He's got an issue with his back. It's not what he's had before in terms of disc injuries, it's ligaments around the back and we have to wait for him to settle down."
Hughes saw his side seal three points against Arsene Wenger's side. However, the former Manchester City manager is aware that it would not be an easy task to get a result against Jose Mourinho's United.
"Of all the teams they are clearly at the top of the pile. Their performances and the way they've gone about their business has been impressive," Stoke manager stressed.
"The make-up of the United squad is very strong and they're playing in a way that their fans will take to and enjoy. They expect teams to attack with power and pace and ability.
"It's very early days. Hopefully there are still things for us to exploit. These games are huge for us and we always enjoy them. We hope we can get a similar result that we did against Arsenal."