Stoke stopper ruled out for at least a month

Stoke received a blow with the confirmation Jack Butland faces a spell on the sidelines after breaking his finger on England duty.

Butland is expected to be ruled out for at least four weeks and that could reach as many as six weeks which may not see the Potters number one return this side of Christmas.

Stoke, who are 14th in the Premier League, have eight league matches until Christmas with trips to Brighton, Crystal Palace, Tottenham and Burnley as well as home dates against Liverpool, Swansea, West Ham and West Brom.

Mark Hughes is fortunate to have a decent reserve keeper on the books with Lee Grant successfully filling in for Butland during his lengthy injury problems last term.

Northern Ireland are 8-1 with BoyleSports and Hills to claim a World Cup spot following Thursday's 1-0 defeat at the hands of Switzerland at Windsor Park.

Ricardo Rodriguez scored the only goal from a hugely disputed penalty award but the Swiss are now in control before Sunday's second leg at home with Betfair offering 1-10 they qualify for next summer's finals in Russia.

Croatia head to Greece with a 4-1 advantage and are as short as
1-100 to qualify with 16-1 being quoted for a dramatic turnaround.



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