Owen's Stoke return on hold

Michael Owen has struggled with groin and hamstring niggles Credit: PA

Michael Owen's hopes of receiving a welcome birthday present from Stoke manager Tony Pulis have been put on hold.

Owen declared himself "raring to go" after coming through 70 minutes of a friendly on Tuesday in a bid to step up his fitness after struggling with groin and hamstring niggles.

The former England striker's 33rd birthday is tomorrow, but Pulis says Owen still needs at least another week of fitness work and another reserve outing before he can be thrown into the first team.