Norwich City defender Michael Turner ruled out of Stoke Premier League trip

Michael Turner was forced to depart the scene early with a groin injury in Norwich's 2-1 Premier Lea

Michael Turner was forced to depart the scene early with a groin injury in Norwich's 2-1 Premier League win over Reading at Carrow Road. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Chris Hughton confirmed on Thursday afternoon injured defender Michael Turner faces a battle to return before the end of the Premier League season.

Turner definitely misses this weekend's Stoke game with the groin injury he suffered in the 2-1 top flight win against Reading. Hughton has since recalled Leon Barnett from a Cardiff loan spell to provide defensive cover with Turner now in a race to be fit for the final home league games against Aston Villa and West Brom before the season-ending trip to dethroned champions Manchester City.

'With Michael certainly missing this game and possibly the next two after that we have to make sure we are secure in that area,' said Hughton. 'We just had to make sure with Michael we cover all the bases. Leon is certainly up to speed. With a loan signing you send them away to get game time because they have found it difficult here. I think the period he was at Cardiff he has played every game. We have to make sure we do things right here and Leon is a good professional. In one way it was a difficult decision to bring him back for the lad himself because he has gone there and enjoyed his time being involved in getting promotion and then winning the title - albeit he has only been there a short period of time. It wasn't difficult on our side, because we have to make sure we do everything right here.'

Scottish international defender Steven Whittaker is fit and available for Stoke after missing the Reading win as a precaution with a knee problem. Hughton was still undecided on Thursday whether England international John Ruddy will continue his return from thigh surgery with a third development outing in tomorrow's scheduled game at Manchester City's U21s.

'We will make a decision on that. The good news is he has trained very well,' said Hughton. 'He has been involved in a couple of games so we just need to assess it. Steven is fine, no problem.'