Pulis fears relegation dogfight

BY foxsports • February 10, 2011

West Ham were relegated with 42 points in 2003 but typically such high totals have not been required, with none of the three teams who fell out of the top-flight last summer registering more than 30 points. Pulis' side occupy ninth place, but are just seven points above the relegation zone. And Pulis believes a host of sides have good cause for concern given none of the teams in the bottom three look like being cut adrift. "I think there'll be a lot of clubs looking over their shoulders at what's happening at the bottom end of this league," Pulis said on Thursday. "It's going to be 40 or even more points to stay up this year. So we have to get those points as quickly as we can because there'll be a hell of a lot of other teams who'll be trying to get those points as well." Stoke head to Birmingham on Saturday, looking to pick up their first points away from home in 2011. Although they have posted wins away from the Britannia Stadium in the FA Cup, at Cardiff and Wolves, the Potters have lost on league business at Manchester United, Fulham and Liverpool. Pulis has been surprised to see Birmingham struggle this season. Alex McLeish's side have drawn 12 of their 24 games, which has been a problem, with five wins and seven defeats from their other fixtures. Pulis suspects McLeish has made a decent acquisition by bringing former Newcastle forward Obafemi Martins to St Andrew's on loan for the rest of the season. "It's a good signing. He's been a good player," said Pulis. "He's played in the Premier League. He knows what it's all about. He's lively, he's very quick." Stoke striker Mamady Sidibe has suffered a setback in his return from an Achilles injury after picking up a knock in training. The 31-year-old former Swansea and Gillingham striker has been on the sidelines for the last five-and-a-half months but appeared to be progressing well when he scored for the reserves in a 2-1 win over Burton. The Malian was injured during training on Thursday morning, although the club have not confirmed the nature of the problem. But defender Ryan Shotton posted on his Twitter page: "Mama I can't have enough sympathy for you son, much love," before going on to add, "it is his Achilles again yeah, not a good day for all of us." A Stoke spokesman said: "Mamady did pick up an injury this morning and finished training early. "We are awaiting scans to discover the extent of the injury. We do not want to speculate until we have the results of those."

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