STOKE CITY head back to the West Midlands in search of more success this weekend . . . having received recognition for their win there last Saturday.
Manager Tony Pulis has been presented with the F&C Investments Award after a five-man League Managers Association Panel decided that their excellent 1-0 victory over West Bromwich at the Hawthorns was the Performance of the Week.
LMA Chairman Howard Wilkinson, Sir Alex Ferguson, Joe Royle Dave Bassett and Barry Fry were in agreement that the triumph over the Baggies, secured by a late goal from substitute Dean Whitehead, stood out as the top performance.
“It was a great result, not only because it was our first away win for the season, but also due to the fact that West Brom’s home form has been absolutely fantastic and they have beaten some top teams there,” said Pulis after receiving the award.
“It was a local derby and the performance came at the end of a three-game week, but the players were fabulous and they gave it absolutely everything.”
He added: “To win three games in the space of seven days made it a very good week for us, but we mustn’t get too carried away with it. We know there is still an awful lot of hard work to be done over the next few weeks to get to where we want to be.”
Pulis received a specially engraved crystal ball when the presentation was made at the Clayton Wood Training Ground on Friday afternoon as the squad finalised their preparations for the meeting with Aston Villa at Villa Park this weekend.
City have won this award on two occasions in the past; one of them, perhaps not surprisingly, for their FA Cup semi-final triumph over Bolton at Wembley, while the other was for a 2-1 win over Arsenal at the Britannia Stadium in November 2008.
*You can see a full interview with Tony Pulis following the handing over of the F&C Investments Award on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday programme.