A week ago, the German defender was confined to his sickbed, laid low by viral meningitis.
It seemed barely conceivable that he could play a part in the season’s opener, but after just five days in hospital in Staffordshire, he declared himself ready to take his place at the heart of Tony Pullis’s defence on his 28th birthday.
“He was bad, he was sick, had a very high temperature and got taken in,” said Pulis.
“It’s something you don’t want to ever hear, not just for Robert, but for anybody. We were really pleased when we heard he’d recovered.
"I’m not only delighted he played, but playing in the heat and the conditions was fantastic. It just shows what the kid’s all about. He was brilliant for us.”
Pulis added that the players had welcomed Huth back in their own inimitable fashion. “The lads have slaughtered him,” he said. “They’ve nicknamed him ‘Lazarus’.”
Huth’s resilience deserved to be rewarded with victory, but
After falling behind to an awful error from goalkeeper Adam Fedirici, who allowed summer signing Michael Kightly’s tame deflected shot to squirm past him in the 34th minute, they rallied impressively through one of their own new arrivals, Garath McCleary.
His deployment midway through the second half injected the attacking impetus the hosts so badly needed.
The livewire midfielder, who joined from Nottingham Forest in May, was tripped
in the area by Dean Whitehead in the dying stages. The
Pulis admitted Stoke should have finished the game off before then, but did not take advantage of their opportunities.
The addition of Michael Owen might help, but Pulis admitted a striker would have to leave in order to have a chance of landing the transfer target.
“People keep talking about Michael Owen and other people,” he said. “There’s lots of stuff that might happen. We’ve got five strikers at the moment, so we can’t bring another one in. ”
Owen has said: “I don’t really want to play in the Championship, I know I can still play in the Premier League and can still score goals.”
McDermott, on the other hand, insists he is happy with his squad and denied wealthy owner Anton Zingarevich will spend cash in the style of his Russian counterpart Roman Abramovich. “
It’s not like that,” he said. “He wants to run this as a business as well, he wants to run it with the philosophy we’ve had over many, many years.”