Whelan relishing City reunion

BY foxsports • April 19, 2011

Whelan is hoping to keep his place in the Potters side at Wembley on May 14 after helping his team dismantle Bolton 5-0 in the semi-final on Sunday. The Republic of Ireland international cannot believe how much the landscape in the blue corner of Manchester has changed since his time with the club. He said: "That's where I started out. I've got fond memories back there. It's where I learnt my trade. "It will unbelievable to play against them if I'm in the team come the final. "There's not many there now from my time - only the kitman and a couple of physios from my time. "I only left about six years ago so to have that kind of massive turnaround is crazy." It has been a frustrating season for Whelan, who has also played for Sheffield Wednesday and Bury. "I've been out of the team for a long time and working hard to try to get back in," he said. "I've done that and I just have to keep working as hard now to stay in because I know there are other lads chomping at the bit." Whelan believes there is enough talent in the squad to overcome the Citizens and seal at place in Europe. He said: "They will be favourites but that's the way we like it. "We're the underdogs and we'll be looking to cause another upset. "Winning the final would be unbelievable for not just ourselves but for the people of Stoke and all the fans. "We'll win any way we can. If it's by a throw-in, so be it. But we've proved a few doubters wrong." Tony Pulis would become the first Welsh boss to lift the FA Cup since George Latham achieved that feat with Cardiff in 1927. Englishman Fred Stewart was manager 84 years ago and Latham their coach when Arsenal were defeated 1-0. No Welsh boss has lifted the cup since then. It is little wonder Newport-born Pulis, 53, will savour the occasion when they meet Manchester City. He said: "It will mean a lot for me to lead the team out. I lost my mum this year. We used to sit round the TV and watch the FA Cup. "The players have embraced this like you can't believe and they will look forward to coming back to Wembley. "This victory will give them the confidence to go and give it a good go. We know we will be playing against a good football team, with great players and one that has great tradition."

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