Pulis opposed to cup changes

At present there is talk of scrapping replays and the introduction

of seedings, potentially for the 2012-13 season onwards, both ideas

Stoke chairman Peter Coates this week voiced his opposition to.

Coates is firmly supported by Pulis, who has also expressed his own

displeasure at the way the fixtures have been spread this season as

witnessed this weekend with fourth-round replays among fifth-round

ties. Throw in the fact the final itself this year is on the

penultimate Saturday of the season, kicking off at 5.30pm following

a host of Premier League games, and Pulis is far from happy. The

latter is likely a one-off given the Champions League final is at

Wembley this year, with UEFA rules stating no match can be played

at a final venue over the two preceding weeks. Pulis, whose side

take on npower League One leaders Brighton at the Britannia Stadium

tomorrow in a fifth-round clash, believes the way the FA Cup has

gone this season, and could go in the future, is all part of

further pandering to the needs of the big clubs. “Everything is

going towards what the big clubs want. They are dictating the way

football is run in England, and we have to accept that,” said

Pulis. “The national teams are taking up more room to play games,

and then you’ve the Premier League, and the Premier League will

look after the Premier League. All part of the food chain. “But we

should keep the luck of the draw otherwise you might not get

fixtures like we have this weekend, with Brighton coming to us, and

in particular Crawley at Manchester United. “Crawley supporters

could wait a lifetime for something like this to happen again, so I

don’t think it’s something we should take away from those football

clubs. “But I understand what’s going on. There are a lot of

European games, we’ve international fixtures in March, so the FA

have to find room for it somewhere. “But it’s dropped down in

priorities, and they’ll kill it if they mess around with it too

much. “The chairman is more traditional than me, so he will be

devastated if they do mess about with it.” Pulis feels the FA Cup

this season has again failed to attract the respect it deserves.

“I’ve not been too happy with the way they’ve done it. I don’t

think anybody is,” added Pulis. “Everybody talks about respecting

it, yet they’ve almost pushed it back when you look at the

fixtures. “The fourth round was in a three-game week, and that is

not right and proper in my mind. “They will say they have to look

after the top clubs due to the European games they play in. “Having

said that, you are damned if you do, damned if you don’t, so I

understand where they’re coming from.” Ahead of tomorrow’s game,

home advantage makes Stoke favourites to progress to the sixth

round for the second consecutive year. Yet against a club Stoke

have beaten on the last seven occasions the two sides have met,

Pulis has warned his players there can be no thinking it will be an

easy afternoon. “Brighton have done brilliantly this season,” said

Pulis. “Obviously they are the best side in their league at the

moment, so we know it will be a really tough game for us. “There

will be no pressure on them. The pressure will be on us, and they

can come and show what they can do. “They’ve scored 52 goals

already this season, so they’ve players in the team who have done

fantastically well. “So we will show Brighton the utmost respect,

and they deserve it. I want to make that clear. “If we don’t go at

it 100% then we’ll get a kick up the backside and Brighton will end

up going through to the quarter-finals of the cup.”