FA Cup 'still special' to Pulis
As a boy growing up in Newport, South Wales, Pulis used to be glued to his TV set when the cup final was taking place. Then, after the last ball had been kicked and the trophy and medals presented, Pulis would rush out into the street to try to replicate his heroes. Pulis 53, said: "When I was younger the only live games you watched were the FA Cup. That was so, so special. "I understand the world moves on and we get a little bit blase because there is so much live football on the television. "I do recognise you have international football and Champions League, the Premier League, then the FA Cup. "That's sad. The FA Cup used to be the pinnacle. But it will always be special to me and to people of my generation. "To reach the final for me would be absolutely fantastic, not just for me but for everybody connected with the club." Stoke are making enormous strides and in addition to the semi-final look certain to retain their top-flight status for a third successive season. Pulis, in his second spell at the club, has given a vote of thanks to chairman and benefactor Peter Coates. Because of his financial muscle Stoke have been able to attract players like Kenwyne Jones, Matthew Etherington, Robert Huth and Jermaine Pennant. Pulis said: "My chairman has done an enormous favour to this community and to this city. The Coates family have put their necks on the line and deserve a lot of credit. "It is a local family and one that has supported the club for over 60 years. They have put their money in and really backed the club. "People thought we would be relegated after one season. But other clubs bigger than Stoke have come and gone and we are still here, still fighting. "Not only have we done that we've had good cup runs over the past three years. It has culminated in this semi-final appearance." Denmark goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen will be recalled as he has been a regular in previous rounds with usual number one Asmir Begovic on the bench. Striker John Carew could come into contention following a four-match absence with a back problem. The party are travelling down by rail on Saturday after training and will then watch the other semi-final between Manchester United and Manchester City. Pulis added: "We will then have a bite to eat, a meeting...it's business as normal. I want the players to enjoy themselves and relax and forget all the rigmarole around the match."