Stoke City manager Michael O’Neil is sweating on John Mikel Obi’s fitness ahead of his side’s opening fixture of the new season against Millwall, reports Completesports.com.
Mikel was not included in the Potters squad for Saturday’s Carabao Cup clash against Blackpool.
Instead the former Chelsea star trained on Saturday morning to build up his fitness ahead of the new campaign.
The 33-year-old is playing catch up having left Trabzonspor five months ago but he has friendlies against Leeds (tomorrow at the training ground) and Newcastle United (at St James’s Park on Saturday) to help before a trip to Millwall in the Championship on September 12.
O’Neill said: “John Obi’s not played since March when he left Trabzonspor. In that period he’s only been training on his own. He’s now done a week or 10 days training with us now and had 45 minutes in the training ground game.
“He trained hard on Saturday morning with a group of six or seven players that all trained very hard. That’s more beneficial for him at this minute in time than playing for half a game.
“We just have to build John up. He’s probably two or three weeks away from being ready for competitive action, certainly in terms of starting a game. We’ll see where he is this week, the games against Leeds and Newcastle.
“It’s an opportunity to get minutes into him and he needs as much football as possible.”Copyright © 2020 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.