Initial reaction to Angus Gunn’s injury and Joe Bursik’s recall
Earlier today, we learned that Stoke keeper Angus Gunn will be sidelined with an ankle injury for up to six weeks. Gunn, who is on loan from Southampton, was backing up Adam Davies before he went down with a knee injury in late October. This situation is…not good.
Stoke have since recalled Joe Bursik who was out on loan at Doncaster and recently made his U21 debut for England earlier in the week. Bursik is most likely to get the start vs Huddersfield on Saturday, but Stoke also have other options in Blondy Nna Noukeu, and Nathan Broome.
The best outlook for Stoke is that Bursik continues his momentum and secures the keeper position until Gunn or Davies return. It’s not unrealistic to think that Bursik, who has not looked out out place in League One so far this season, can translate his form and rise up to Championship talent. This has potential to be an absolute darling season for the young keeper. Imagine what story this could be for Bursik 1) start every match for Doncaster and perform well in League One 2) Get first call up to England’s U21 squad and get a clean sheet in first start 3) Start for Stoke in the Championship and keep the club competitive for promotion — that is just about as good as it could possibly get for Bursik and for Stoke City. Let’s hope for that.
Stoke have 12 matches from now until Stoke’s January 2nd match against Bournemouth which is roughly when we might expect both Davies and Gunn to be working their way back into the team – that’s a lot of time for things to go wrong. If Bursik falters or looks out of place, Stoke’s other options are both younger and less experienced so I would predict that they turn to a veteran free agent. Peter Smith outlined some possible options, “Adam Legzdins, Kamil Miazek, Lee Camp, Lewis Price, Orjan Nyland and Niki Maenpaa”. If they are forced to go with an emergency free agent, things will most likely not be going well for Stoke. Players could lose confidence in their keeper and morale could drop. You would hate to see two keeper injuries in quick succession result in Stoke falling out of contention for promotion, but it is a real possibility now. You would also have to feel for Bursik if he were to get opportunities and not look nearly ready to face Championship talent.