Lambert pleased with Wimmer and Berahino’s fitness improvements

Stoke boss Paul Lambert thinks Kevin Wimmer and Saido Berahino are both “getting there” after being placed on programmes to up their fitness levels.

It emerged this week that defender Wimmer had been put on a special regime having been deemed not fit enough to play in the way Lambert would like.

And Berahino is in a similar situation, with a number of newspapers last week quoting Lambert as saying the striker was “not up to my level of fitness” and had been given “a wee programme to stick to”.

Wimmer has been left out of the matchday squad for all six of Stoke’s games under Lambert so far following his appointment as boss in January, while Berahino has been absent for the last two. Both players featured for the Under-23s last weekend.

Asked about Wimmer at his press conference on Thursday to preview Monday’s home Premier League clash with leaders Manchester City, Lambert said: “I just thought Kevin needed a little bit more fitness.

“The standard that I expect… I thought it should have been higher from him. But to be fair to Kevin he has worked hard to get there. He has done well.”

Lambert said Wimmer and Berahino were in contention for involvement on Monday, adding of the pair: “They are getting there, which is the pleasing thing, so there’s no problem.”

Lambert, whose side are 19th in the table, stressed he did not think there was an overall fitness issue with the squad.

“It’s just my personal feeling of an individual,” he said.

“To get to my level you have to be really on it and I need them (Wimmer and Berahino) up to that level of what I see a footballer being like.”

Forward Mame Diouf is set to miss out on Monday due to the shoulder injury he sustained in last Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Southampton.

Lambert said of Diouf: “There’s no timescale on him at the minute, but he’s doing OK.”

Midfielder Stephen Ireland (calf) is not yet ready to make his return to action, and goalkeeper Lee Grant (broken wrist) also remains sidelined.