Pulis: Berbatov the best buy

Swansea have handed teenage left-back Ben Davies a new

three-and-a-half-year contract with the club.

The 19-year-old has established himself as a regular in the

first team this season after being drafted in to replace the

injured Neil Taylor in September.

Davies has now made 11 Premier League appearances for the Swans

and has also been capped twice by Wales after Chris Coleman

selected him for the World Cup qualifiers against Scotland and

Croatia.

He told the club’s official website: “I’m delighted to have

signed a new deal here.

“It shows the faith the club has in me and I’ve been rewarded

for my performances so far.

“It is more security for me, and that will allow me to keep

working as hard as possible to continue my development here.

“I have already learned a lot from not only playing, but by

working hard in training with the manager, coaching staff and

team-mates and taking as much advice as possible from them. It’s a

great time to be at Swansea City.”

Berbatov, having fallen out of favour at Manchester United,

joined the Cottagers on transfer deadline day in August, becoming

manager Martin Jol’s most high-profile recruit of the summer.

A day later the 31-year-old Bulgarian striker made his debut as

a substitute, since when he has scored five goals in seven starts,

and Pulis – whose side host Fulham at the Britannia Stadium on

Saturday – has no doubt Jol has made a very shrewd move.

“He is a good manager and he is very well respected around the

country,” Pulis said of his counterpart. “Fulham have some good

players and I think Berbatov has been the outstanding buy for

them.

“He is the glue that knits it all together.

“He looks as if he is really, really enjoying himself having

found a home where he is the main player. Looking at him, he is

just showing the class that he possesses.”

Asked if there had been a better signing made by a Premier

League club over the summer, Pulis said: “It doesn’t look like it

at the moment.”

He added: “I think our supporters will see one of the best

players in the Premier League on Saturday on the ball.

“He can win games by himself and has been a great signing for

Martin.

“Berbatov is one of the outstanding players in the Premier

League this year. It is worth the admission fee just to see him

play.”

Fulham, currently ninth in the table on 16 points, have been

free-scoring in general, netting 25 times in their 12 top-flight

games this term.

They have also conceded 22 goals, though, and their defence will

be missing suspended team captain Brede Hangeland after the Norway

international was sent off in last Sunday’s 3-1 home defeat to

Sunderland.

Pulis, whose Stoke side are 14th on 13 points, is aware of the

Cottagers’ apparent strengths and weaknesses, but is not about to

make any assumptions ahead of the clash at the Britannia

Stadium.

“I’ve watched their games and they have conceded goals, but they

don’t half look good going forward,” Pulis said. “We know it’s

going to be a tough game.

“We respect everybody in the Premier League and we certainly

won’t be taking Fulham for granted, whatever anybody says about

their attacking, defending or whatever.”

Stoke could be without defender Andy Wilkinson for the

match.

Wilkinson had to come off in the first half of Monday’s 1-1 draw

at West Ham due to a back problem and has undergone a scan.

If he is ruled out, his replacement at Upton Park, Ryan Shotton,

is likely to deputise once again at full-back.

Midfielder Dean Whitehead is back available after being

suspended for the game against the Hammers, but striker Michael

Owen is not expected to be ready to make his return from a

hamstring complaint, while midfielder Rory Delap (hernia) and

defender Marc Wilson (broken leg) remain sidelined.