Pulis keeping the faith
Potters boss has survival in sight
By Chris Burton. Last Updated: February 19, 2009 3:49pm
Pulis: Ready for basement battle
Tony Pulis still has a 'great belief' that Stoke will secure Premier League survival this season.
The Potters currently occupy a standing just outside the relegation zone, with a solitary point separating them from the bottom three.
Pulis accepts that fortune will need to favour his side during the end-of-season run-in if they are to beat the drop, but sees no reason why the Britannia Stadium outfit cannot silence those critics who had them down as relegation certainties before the 2008/09 campaign got underway.
"I still have a great belief that we will avoid relegation. Very much so," he said.
"We need our injured players back and we don't need any other injury problems in this situation.
"We have 13 games to stay up and everything has to go for us now."
Pulis could be boosted by the return of towering frontman Mamady Sidibe for Saturday's basement battle against Portsmouth, while Ricardo Fuller is also set to return sooner than expected from a dislocated shoulder.
"We could have Sidibe back. He is very much in the frame for the weekend," he added.
"He has been an enormous loss to us. He will need time and we can't expect him to be back to what he was just yet.
"He was a real handful at the beginning of the season up front. He impressed a lot of people with his performances, but we cannot expect him to come back right on the mark just yet.
"Fuller looked to be out for a long time with a dislocated shoulder but he has trained a couple of days this week on his own, which has surprised me, so we will see how he is at the weekend.
"We are now hoping he will be back quicker than we thought, but probably not for this next match."