Defensive worries for Stoke ahead of Chelsea clash

Stoke City could be without three senior centre backs for Saturday's trip to face Premier League champions Chelsea, manager Mark Hughes has said.

Skipper Ryan Shawcross limped out of Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Huddersfield Town after 32 minutes with a calf injury while on-loan France international Kurt Zouma is ineligible to play against his parent club. Bruno Martins Indi has not recovered from a groin injury that kept him out of the last five games.

"We're a bit short at the moment. Bruno's another two-and-a-half weeks away, Hughes said.

Hughes is optimistic that left back Erik Pieters, who picked up a knock in the 3-0 defeat by West Ham United earlier this month, could recover in time for the trip to London.

"We might be able to get Erik Pieters back, but that will be touch and go," he added.

Stoke have conceded 41 goals in 20 games this season, the highest of any team in the top flight.