Pulis waxes lyrical about Crouch

The 30-year-old’s summer move from Tottenham was a sign of how far

the Potters have come since their promotion to the Premier League

in 2008 and he has repaid them with eight goals, notching his 100th

league strike on Monday. Crouch was one of a trio of players to

join Stoke from Spurs in the summer along with Jonathan Woodgate

and Wilson Palacios, and Pulis could not be happier with how they

have settled in. The Welshman said: “Crouch has been fantastic. I

thought him and Woodgate were very good (yesterday) and they’ve got

great quality. It’s not just what they do on the pitch, it’s what

they’re like off the field as well, they’ve been absolutely

fantastic. “They’ve come to the football club as top players who

have played for top clubs and their attitude towards the rest of

the group has been fantastic. I’m so pleased Peter’s not only got

his 100th goal but his 101st as well.” Pulis declined to speculate

on whether Crouch could make the England squad for this summer’s

European Championships but he certainly does not feel the striker’s

powers are waning. “He’s unplayable at times. If you stick the

right quality in to him, he’ll score goals. And he’s as fit as a

flea,” added Pulis after Crouch battled through the Christmas

programme despite illness. “He’s played the full game against

Wigan, come here and played the full game and is defending balls in

our box, up there winning balls in their box and absolutely

brilliant. “I think we might have caught him at the right time.

He’s the type of player who always wants to do well, he always

seems very enthusiastic about being a footballer and that’s a great

commodity.” The result lifted Stoke to within one point of

seventh-placed Newcastle as they made it 17 points from the last

eight league games but for Blackburn it was another opportunity

missed to climb out of the bottom three. Boss Steve Kean was

unhappy with referee Lee Mason’s decision to disallow a Christopher

Samba header early on, particularly given the treatment dished out

to some of his players. He said: “There’s certainly lots of times

at set-play situations where there’s contact. We feel as though a

number of times we get penalties and decisions against Chris Samba

because he’s such a dominating figure. “I know it’s tough for the

ref when there was so much going on in the box but certainly the

goal that was disallowed was a tough one because I think it was a

perfectly good goal.” It was a disappointing result for Rovers

after their shock win over Manchester United last weekend and Kean

will now turn his attention to trying to strengthen his squad in

the January transfer window. The Scot again denied he is being

hampered by financial problems at the club and took heart from a

slight improvement in his injury situation, with Gael Givet making

his first appearance after a minor heart operation. “I’ve been told

nothing about selling [players],” he added. “We’re only going to

try to add. I said at Old Trafford we would like to try to keep the

squad intact and that’s going to be the basis of how we’re

hopefully going to approach this window. “What was encouraging was

to get Gael Givet back so quickly after his heart procedure. We

rotated Ruben Rochina with David Dunn, we got David Goodwillie on,

so we’re trying to rotate round the lads that we’ve got and I

really felt we were unlucky.”