Pulis pleased to have options

BY foxsports • February 4, 2011

With Ryan Shawcross available after a two-match ban, Pulis may also call on midfielder Matthew Etherington and former Black Cats striker Kenwyne Jones, both of whom sat out the midweek defeat at Liverpool. However, while the trio can reinvigorate the side, they must do without Ricardo Fuller - who has been given compassionate leave to attend his uncle's funeral in Jamaica following his death from a heart attack with the striker expected to return next Tuesday. Pulis, though, acknowledges the value of being able to reintroduce rested players especially considering their opponents have not endured his side's demands over the past week - which has seen them travel to Wolves as well as Anfield. He told the club's official website: "We're going to need those fresh legs because Sunderland have not only had an extra 24 hours to get themselves ready for this game, they also didn't have a game last weekend. "That is why it is important we used the squad on Wednesday night. "The likes of Matty Etherington and Kenwyne Jones had run their socks off on a heavy pitch against Wolves, so they will have benefited from the fact that they didn't feature in the game at Anfield." Fuller is an integral part of the Potters side but Pulis is fully supportive of the striker's family priorities. "It's a blow to lose Ric," he added. "But the family should always comes first in these situations and I am sure everyone understands that he needs to be there." Stoke are playing their first home game after four on the road and, although they won the two FA Cup matches, their league visits to Anfield and Fulham ended in 2-0 defeats. The Potters will start the game 11th in the Premier League, six points off the relegation zone and with a healthy home record of six victories, the last of which came against Bolton on January 15. Pulis wants his side to push on in both the league and cup, where they face npower League One side Brighton for a place in the quarter-finals. He explained: "One or two things haven't worked out as we had hoped this week but you have to get on with it. We have got a hell of a lot to play for over the next few weeks. "We have to recognise where we are. If we work hard and stay together, we could have the best season the club has had at this level for a long, long time. "We have an excellent chance of finishing in the top 10 and, fingers crossed, if we play well against Brighton, we could get through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. "It has the potential to be a very exciting last quarter of the season. I'm sure the supporters will be relishing it and, as ever, they have an important part to play in this."

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