Pulis' promise to Latics' rivals

BY foxsports • May 21, 2011

The Latics travel to Staffordshire for their final fixture of the season lying 19th in the table, level on points with 18th-placed Blackpool and 17th-placed Birmingham, both of whom are also away from home. A further point ahead are Wolves in 16th and Blackburn in 15th, who face each other at Molineux. It all makes for a nerve-jangling conclusion to the battle for survival, something Pulis had a taste of with the Potters in the second tier at the end of the 2002/03 campaign. His team secured their safety on that occasion and the 53-year-old knows how desperate opposite number Roberto Martinez will be for Wigan to do likewise. But with Stoke currently ninth and on course for their highest finish since their promotion to the top flight in 2008, Pulis is not about to make any concessions. "I've been in it once, the first year I came to Stoke," Pulis said. "We ended up getting a victory against Reading to stay up. It's tough - there is a lot of emotion and as a manager, you have the whole weight of a football club and its supporters, everything on your shoulders. "The Premier League is such a hugely rewarding industry to be in and if you do get relegated, it is an enormous knock for the football club - for the supporters, financially and for everything that surrounds it. So it is a big, big game for Wigan and we understand that. "It is game with a lot riding on it. "But it is important not just for the fact that Wigan are trying to stay up and get something out of the game, but also because we have an opportunity to finish in the top 10, which is massive for us." Stoke go into the contest having been beaten in their last two matches, both of which were against Manchester City - the 1-0 FA Cup final defeat a week ago and then a 3-0 loss at Eastlands in the league on Tuesday. Overall, though, it has been an impressive season for the Potters, and one Pulis feels it is their duty - to their supporters and to the rest of the division - to try to round off in style. "We have a responsibility to our fans and we also have a responsibility to every other club that is playing in the Premier League and are playing for something," said Pulis, whose team's cup run has earned them a place in next season's Europa League. "Roberto and Wigan will understand that. We'll be doing our best to make sure that we try to win a game of football. "Whichever team we put out, we will expect them to do their best." Pulis accepts that could condemn Wigan, a club for which he has great admiration, to the drop, although the Welshman finds it tough to predict who might be joining already-relegated bottom side West Ham in the npower Championship. "I've got a lot of time for Roberto, he is a smashing fella and he has done a smashing job there," Pulis said. "I also think their chairman (Dave Whelan) is a good football man - he is very similar to (Stoke chairman) Peter Coates, a man who has put his money into his local club, and he has really backed it enormously. "They are good football people. It is very difficult to call when you look at the clubs down there - you're still not sure which two will go."


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