Cape Town - Stoke manager Mark Hughes is cautious about Jack Butland's return to Premier League action after the goalkeeper announced his successful recovery from an ankle fracture he sustained while playing for England in almost a year ago.
Butland, who turns 24 on Friday, said on Twitter: "Surgeon couldn't be happier with my ankle, fracture completely healed and free to progress! Best early birthday present ever."
However, Hughes suggested that the England international may need to wait until next season before he returns to the first team.
"We're pleased Jack's at a point where we can look forward to him being available for selection. At that point, we'll have a discussion." Hughes told reporters on Monday.
"If there's an option to maybe give Jack the opportunity to have games before the end of the season or think 'let's make sure he's right for pre-season'... There's any number of options."
Stoke travel to the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday to face Manchester City before a two-week break.