Pulis guards against complacency

BY foxsports • March 19, 2010

The Potters are currently 11th on 36 points, 12 clear of the drop zone with nine matches to play. At the same stage last year, in Stoke's maiden Premier League campaign, they were third-bottom with 29 points but went on to finish 12th with 45 points. With the task seemingly much easier this time around Pulis was keen to point out it did not mean the players could afford to think their job had been done. And he highlighted the fortunes of the likes of Derby, Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday as examples of what can happen if you lose focus. "The last 19 months at this club have been brilliant and it has been an exciting journey but we mustn't take our foot off the pedal," said Pulis. "The club and supporters have to recognise you can soon slip. "You only have to look to the Championship to see a lot of clubs who have spent a lot more time in the Premier League than we have. "They have taken their foot off the pedal for one reason or another and they are in real dire situations. "It is a job you have to keep pushing and driving forward." Pulis has always stressed Stoke need three years in the top flight before they can look to take the next step but he knows he has a squad which could form the basis for a sustained spell in the Premier League. One of those players is defender Ryan Shawcross who, if he gets over a minor ankle problem, is in contention to start at home to Tottenham on Saturday having served a three-match ban for his sending-off after breaking Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey's leg. Pulis has a real mixture of youth and experience but knows Shawcross and a number of other promising players represent the club's route to a successful future. "Ryan has a big future at Stoke and we hope he will be one of the building blocks because we have got some good young players coming through," said the Potters boss. "The age of him and Huth (22 and 25), having signed Asmir Begovic from Portsmouth, we have a triangle of two centre-halves and a young goalkeeper which, if they progress, shows we are starting to build something solid." Having held Champions League-chasing Aston Villa to a goalless draw at the Britannia Stadium last weekend Stoke face current fourth-placed incumbents Tottenham on Saturday. Pulis knows it will as, if not more, difficult against Harry Redknapp's side. "It will be one of our toughest games because they are flying at the moment," he added. "Harry has put a very competent team together who are in pole position for fourth place in the league and in pole position for an FA Cup semi-final. "He has bought top players and with that comes that bit of quality you need. "They are very dangerous, are good at set-plays and attack the ball well. "The important thing is we give the supporters something to get their teeth into." Pulis also has great admiration for his opposite number at Tottenham "Harry is good for the game in lots of respects," he said. "He's managed over 1,000 games and is a crafty old fox and he will be looking at the two fronts he is fighting on and he will fancy it." Academy striker Louis Moult has signed a two-year professional deal with Stoke. The 17-year-old became the club's youngest Premier League player when he came on against Burnley last week.

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