Beattie in fitness race

Posted Saturday, September 12, 2009 by PA

James Beattie will require a late fitness test to see if he can play any part in Stoke's Barclays Premier League clash against Chelsea.

The striker damaged knee ligaments against Birmingham three weeks ago but a course of sugar injections has speeded his recovery.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis will also assess his international quartet of Thomas Sorensen, Glenn Whelan, Liam Lawrence and Tuncay Sanli before finalising his starting line-up

Beattie admits a few sleepless nights will be a small price to pay if he is passed fit to play.

Beattie has undergone two courses of sugar injections to speed his recovery after damaging knee ligaments at Birmingham three weeks ago.

The treatment has enabled the 31-year-old to return to full training well ahead of schedule - and the pain incurred should prove worthwhile.

Beattie said: "The injections were painful to the extent that I didn't sleep much at all on the nights after I had them.

"But the good news is an expected six weeks out could be turned into three because they have definitely worked. They speed up the healing process by increasing the blood flow through the ligament itself.

"The injections were so good that I was able to run in a straight line within a few days of getting injured. I've gradually increased my workload and I'm now back in full training."

Midfielder Deco has been ruled out of Chelsea's trip with a calf injury sustained on international duty with Portugal in midweek.

Midfielder Yuri Zhirkov is also out with a knee injury along with defender Alex (groin).

Joe Cole (knee) and Paulo Ferreira (knee) are back in training but not considered match fit as yet.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti takes his table-topping side to Stoke full of praise for the English game.

The former AC Milan coach even goes so far as to suggest that the Italian game can learn from the Barclays Premier League, particularly when it comes to tackling fan violence and racism.

Ancelotti has guided the Blues to four straight wins and although Stoke have started the season in fine style, Chelsea will expect to continue their winning ways in the Potteries.

"People go to the stadium to see a spectacle," said Ancelotti. "In Italy unfortunately it isn't like that.

"People there don't have this sense for spectacle. In Italy we still have violence, so I hope that in Italy it will change soon, and that people go to the stadium to see an exciting match, like in England, and to support their team - not using violence and racist taunts towards the players.

"It is something nice and interesting to see here [in England]."

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