Pulis wants home comforts

Stoke manager Tony Pulis views the team's four remaining home matches as key to reaching safety.

Last Updated: 30/03/13 at 07:25 Post Comment

Tony Pulis: Four home games the key

Tony Pulis: Four home games the key

Stoke manager Tony Pulis views the team's four remaining home matches as being the ones that are really key as they strive towards their target of 40 points.

The Potters - starting the weekend 11th in the Barclays Premier League on 34 points, seven clear of 18th-placed Wigan, who have a game in hand - play seven more times this season after today's trip to Everton.

They follow the Goodison Park contest with a home double-header against Aston Villa and Manchester United, and also host Norwich and Tottenham, with their away fixtures taking them to QPR, Sunderland and Southampton.

Stoke have lost five successive top-flight away matches and managed only one win in their last 24, a sequence stretching back to January 2012 - statistics that are in stark contrast to their record at home, where they have been beaten just twice in 22 league games.

And presumably with that in mind, Pulis has placed particular emphasis on the importance of the fixtures the side have left at the Britannia Stadium.

"We have got four big games at home and they are the ones in which we are really looking to pick the points up and do well," Pulis said.

"We will go to Everton and be as positive as we can, but it is the four games at home that are massive for us.

"We want to get to 40 points as quickly as we can and get everyone settled down again."

Although Stoke are on a poor run, having taken just five points from the last 30 on offer, there are reasons for encouragement as they go into the Everton game, which kicks off at 5.30pm.

With Robert Huth back available after completing a three-match ban, Pulis looks set to have a full squad to select from, while opposite number David Moyes has two influential players suspended in Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar.

Another potential boost for the Potters is the knowledge they have only lost once in their past seven meeting with the Toffees.

But Pulis has no doubt sixth-placed Everton will provide a stern test, even without Fellaini and Pienaar.

"The Everton game will be one of our toughest games, without a question of a doubt," Pulis said.

"Everybody will talk about Fellaini and Pienaar not playing, but they have got some (other) outstanding players.

"They have got (Victor) Anichebe, (Nikica) Jelavic, (Kevin) Mirallas, (Leon) Osman, (Leighton) Baines, (Sylvain) Distin - it looks as if (Phil) Jagielka might have a chance of being fit as well.

"They have a very, very good squad there."


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