Stoke make trip to Aston Villa as Crouch attracting bets to score first report Paddy Power

Stoke boss Tony Pulis has insisted Peter Crouch will be fit and ready to play against Aston Villa at the Britannia Stadium on Boxing Day as we face another Christmas cracker worth of free bets from Paddy Power bookmaker.

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Crouch was forced to sit out of the Potter’s 3-0 defeat against Manchester City on Wednesday, with Pulis bemoaning the loss of the former Spurs forward as a contributing factor to his side’s lack of attacking ambition.

Crouch missed the game at the Etihad Stadium after complaining of a series of headaches, and while Pulis admitted his leading forward was ill, the Welshman is adamant he will be fit to play against Villa.

“Crouchy went into hospital and had some checks,” Pulis said in The Sentinel. “He had been suffering with headaches for a couple of days and we didn’t want to take any chances with him.”

“The way to do that was to get him to stay away. I’ve spoken to him and he’s fine.

“He’s at home at the moment and we are hoping he will train on Friday and be ready to go when we play Villa.” He added.

Matthew Etherington also missed the game with Pulis opting to rest the winger with the game against Villa in mind.

Pulis defended his actions, and insisted playing Ethrington in home games remained a priority.

“It’s important Matty plays the home games, and I like playing with two wingers at home,” said Pulis.

“I just wanted to be more solid through the middle against City.”

Villa meanwhile go into the game with mounting injury worries after Stephen Ireland limped off mid-way through their 2-1 defeat against Arsenal on Wednesday with a hamstring injury.

Both Emile Heskey and Darren Bent are also doubts for the game, leaving Villa boss Alex McLeish somewhat short of attacking options ahead of his side’s trip to the Britannia Stadium.

Pete is a creature of the night, regularly crawling the internet for snippets of any football news info. He's also a Tottenaham fan.