Pulis amused by long-throw copycats

Stoke manager Tony Pulis is amused by teams copying the Potters’

long throw-ins after two years of disparaging comments about them.

Even Fabio Capello got a glimpse of what a useful option Rory

Delap can be as the England coach was at Eastlands on Saturday

evening to see Ricardo Fuller get on the end of a mighty throw to

earn Stoke an FA Cup fifth-round replay with Manchester City.

For Pulis it is nothing new. And now he sees others are

following his lead.

“We create other chances and opportunities apart from through

Rory’s throws,” he said.

“It’s funny though, every time I turn the TV on now someone

is throwing it long.

“Gareth Bale does it for Tottenham and I watched

Southampton’s FA Cup tie against Portsmouth and one of their lads

was picking it up and throwing it into the box.

“People do it. It is just that we might do it better than

others.”

Pulis admitted a February 24 replay was the last thing he

wanted, although his side were worthy of a second go.

Stoke’s concern is the number of injuries they might pick up

and given Matthew Etherington, Liam Lawrence and Andy Wilkinson are

being assessed after suffering problems that could become

long-term, Pulis’ fears may be justified.

Nevertheless, with another meeting against City looming in

the Premier League on Tuesday, Pulis can take great heart from

Stoke’s performance on Saturday.

And he also knows there is unlikely to be a repeat of the

defensive catastrophe Ryan Shawcross suffered to gift Shaun

Wright-Phillips his first-half opener.

“Ryan should have done better with the goal,” admitted Pulis

of the defender’s initial fresh air shot at the ball before, having

fallen, he prevented it from bouncing out of play by putting his

head on it to give Wright-Phillips a tap-in.

“The first ball that got behind us was disappointing but he

still should have done better.

“But, credit to Ryan, he picked himself up and had a good

game in the end.”