Potters boss calls for unity
The Staffordshire outfit's rapid rise over the last few years has reached a new level this term with their participation in the Europa League, which came as a result of their FA Cup final appearance in May. They had appeared to be coping well with the more congested fixture schedule that has entailed, but after losing just twice in their opening 16 games of the campaign they head into Saturday's Premier League clash with QPR at the Britannia Stadium having been beaten in four of their last five matches in all competitions. Pulis has always been keen to emphasise that his team are on a steep learning curve in terms of adapting to the demands upon them this season, and the Welshman feels that if Stoke are to ensure their recent dip in form does not develop into a major slump, it is vital the club remains united. "We have gone from what we were to what we are now and the transition has been enormous," Pulis said. "We've got to adjust and deal with it and the only way we will do that is with everyone pulling together and having a go. "That includes our great supporters, as well as the players responding. Everyone needs to be a part of it." Pulis is anticipating a stern test from Neil Warnock's QPR, who are currently level on points with them in mid-table having made a solid start to life back in the top flight after winning the npower Championship last season. "If you look at most of the British managers in the Premier League, they have had to bring clubs up through the Championship," Pulis said. "There are only one or two who have been lucky enough to get jobs without doing that. "Neil has done it, and has been a very, very successful manager over the years. "We've locked horns a few times at different clubs and it is always a difficult game against Neil. "You always know his teams will be competitive and we are expecting a really tough game." Pulis is hoping to be boosted this weekend by the return of defenders Ryan Shawcross and Marc Wilson and winger Matthew Etherington, all of whom missed the 5-0 defeat at Bolton on November 6 through injury. He has also been encouraged by the efforts in training of midfielder Wilson Palacios, who has been working to build up his fitness since joining Stoke from Tottenham in the summer. Palacios has only made a handful of appearances for the Potters so far, but Pulis sees him as a potential fixture in the side once he is fully up to speed. "Wilson has looked a lot stronger and much brighter in training than he has done since he moved to the club," Pulis told www.stokecityfc.com. "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."