Sidelined since Gameweek 9 with a broken leg, Marc Wilson’s recent return to reserve action sees the Stoke defender make his way onto our newly-updated Watchlist rankings. Having played the full 90 minutes for the Potters second-string against Burnley on Tuesday, the left-back is finally closing in on a first-team comeback ahead of next weekend’s trip to Fulham.
Wilson is expected to turn out for the reserves on Monday, affording him five days’ rest before the Cottagers clash. The Republic of International is certainly confident of featuring against Martin Jol’s side and while Tony Pulis has been cautious with the player’s comeback, the Stoke boss revealed just how much of a key player Wilson is for his side:
“I rate him as one of the best players at this football club and a very, very good Premier League player. We need him back. The balance of the team and squad has not been right. We have tried ever so hard to correct that in the summer and in the last window, but not been able to do it for all sorts of reasons – there is no one to blame. It has left us a little bit unbalanced, so to get Marc back in will be a real bonus for us.”
Recent Gameweeks have been harsh on the Stoke defence. Previously such a consistent source of defensive returns, they have now gone eight matches without a clean sheet. Ryan Shawcross, Robert Huth and Asmir Begovic, at 6.0, 5.7 and 5.8 in Fantasy Premier League (FPL) respectively, have represented poor value of late – a real turnaround in fortune after racking up nine clean sheets in the first 18 Gameweeks.
Coming in at a mere 3.9 in FPL and 5.4 Sky Sports game, Wilson offers a cut-price route into the Potters backline ahead of a run of fixtures which may well serve to boost their appeal once again. Up next, the Potters welcome West Ham, West Brom and Villa to the Britannia in the next six, while the trip to Fulham also offers hope of further returns. Granted, Wilson’s record of one goal and three assists in the past three seasons suggest he’ll offer little attacking potential but if his presence can help shore up the Stoke defence, clean sheet returns alone would more than justify his acquisition. With game time guaranteed under Pulis, there are few, if any, defensive options around that offer the potential for similar value over the last few weeks of the season.