Pulis predicts Palacios success

Palacios has been playing catch up with his fitness since his

arrival from Tottenham due to a knee injury which has limited him

to a handful of appearances. But Pulis has seen positive signs over

the past week and believes the Honduran is now ready to stake a

strong claim for a regular place in the side. “Wilson has looked a

lot stronger and much brighter in training than he has done since

he moved to the Club,” Pulis told the club’s official website. “He

has struggled with the knee problem and his general level of

fitness since he’s been here, which has been frustrating for all

concerned, but we are confident we are over all that. “It’s

important that we bide our time with Wilson, but we are hoping that

when he gets in the team, he will stay there. That is the aim,

whether it’s this Saturday or another time.” Meanwhile Pulis has

given his backing to Asmir Begovic following a torrid few days for

the goalkeeper. Begovic was at fault for two of the goals in the

Potters’ 5-0 Premier League defeat at Bolton on November 6, the

first blunder coming when he handled what was deemed to be a back

pass from Glenn Whelan and allowed Ivan Klasnic to quickly take the

resulting free-kick for Kevin Davies to score the opener. The

24-year-old then slid in to clear from the feet of the advancing

Klasnic, but succeeded only in finding Chris Eagles, who

brilliantly fired into the bottom corner to double the hosts’

advantage. During the subsequent international break, the Bosnian

stopper kept a clean sheet in the first leg of his country’s Euro

2012 play-off as they drew 0-0 with Portugal, but on Tuesday he

endured another miserable 90 minutes on the pitch, his side being

thrashed 6-2 in the return match to end their hopes for next

summer. Those recent experiences will not have done much for

Begovic’s confidence, but Pulis is in no doubt as to the player’s

qualities and feels that the entire Stoke team should take

responsibility for the errors at the Reebok Stadium. “I think Asmir

is one of the best young goalkeepers in the Premier League and he

will have ups and downs,” Pulis said. “I’m looking at the games and

the mistakes people are making, and it is not just Asmir who has

been making those mistakes – it’s the collective group.” Pulis

expressed huge disappointment at his side’s efforts after the

Bolton game and was reluctant to use their hectic schedule – it was

their third match inside the space of six days, with the middle one

being a Europa League trip to Israel to play Maccabi Tel Aviv – as

an excuse. He admitted, though, that even he had felt jaded at the

end of the sequence, and is not about to wield his axe too severely

in reaction to the last result. Asked if he would be tempted to

make sweeping changes for this weekend’s league clash with QPR at

the Britannia Stadium, Pulis said: “No, not at all. “Even I felt

really tired after the game, and you look at what the lads were set

in terms of the three games – a Monday, a Thursday and then a

Sunday. “Even when we’re coming back (from Israel), we’re coming

back to another away game, not coming back and able to rest and

then play at home. “We had to get them up again, get them to

another hotel and get them prepared for another away match. It has

been tough.” Pulis will be boosted this weekend by the return of

Ryan Shawcross, Marc Wilson and Matthew Etherington, all of whom

missed the Bolton contest through injury. Stoke take on a QPR side

currently level on points with them in mid-table, the London outfit

having made a solid start to life back in the top flight after

winning the Championship last season. Rangers boss Neil Warnock

bolstered his squad considerably over the summer by bringing in a

host of new signings, including Joey Barton and Shaun

Wright-Phillips, two players the Potters had also been in contact

with. “We spoke to Joey and we spoke to Shaun,” Pulis told BBC

Radio Stoke. “We were speaking to a lot of players at the time.

There are always lots of different scenarios that get you a deal

done or cause you not to get it done. “From what people tell me,

they’ll be having a go again (to sign new players) in January. “All

three clubs that have been promoted have enjoyed a really good

start to the season, which is really good and encouraging.”