Pulis amused by long-throw copycats

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.”