Pulis urges Stoke to fire up fans

Pulis urges Stoke to fire up fans

Published Feb. 16, 2010 8:38 a.m. ET

Stoke manager Tony Pulis has urged his players to fire up the supporters ahead of two more big clashes against Manchester City.

The Potters face the Eastlands outfit for the second time in three days on Tuesday night after fighting out a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup fifth round on Saturday.

And with the Premier League encounter at the Britannia Stadium to be followed by the cup replay next week, the two sides will become familiar foes.

Stoke fans have become renowned for their highly-vocal backing and Pulis wants them at their loudest to help see off Roberto Mancini's men twice.

Pulis told the club's website: "We need our support now. The support of the team now is vital for us.

"We have got to make sure they are really up for it. It is going to be two very tough games."

Stoke also have games against Portsmouth, Arsenal, Fulham, Burnley and Aston Villa in the next month and Pulis views the weeks ahead as crucial to his side's season.

The Potters are 12th in the table, just seven points above the relegation zone but with two games in hand on many sides that could take them into the top half.

Team spirit has been strong at the Britannia Stadium since promotion in 2008 and Pulis believes that will pull his men through their busy run of fixtures.

He said: "We wanted to win it (on Saturday). We were on our front foot and we were a little bit unlucky.

"But it was a great result for us. We would have loved to have done it in one, it would have eased the pressure.

"We have now got another extraordinary, busy month in front of us and we will have to work very hard on the players' recoveries.

"But they don't give up, they are a great group of players who work very hard.

"You get astounded at times at the effort and commitment they put in.

"Every time the players come off the pitch you know they have given it 100%.

"We need another four or five wins in the Premier League and we need to be lucky in the cup."

Stoke will be without Matthew Etherington after the key midfielder suffered a knee injury last weekend.

Etherington has been for a scan to assess the damage and the results are expected on Tuesday, although the club are hopeful there will be no lengthy lay-off.

Andy Wilkinson and Liam Lawrence are expected to overcome knocks, Dean Whitehead will return in midfield and Abdoulaye Faye could also feature.