TONY PULIS sent Stoke City supporters a “Merry Christmas” message . . . and then urged them to work off their excesses by roaring on his side in their Boxing Day encounter with Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium.
City be endeavouring to extend their record-breaking unbeaten run to nine matches in the Barclays Premier League and secure a third successive home win over Liverpool in the League in front of the television cameras.
But Pulis knows that his side face another stern examination of their recent good form against the Anfielders who gained a massive boost ahead of the Christmas programme when they beat Fulham 4-0 at the weekend.
“I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, but then we want them to come here and work off the turkey and all the other goodies by really getting behind the team,” commented Pulis ahead of the live televised match.
“We really need them because this will be a massive game against one of the country’s great footballing institutions.
“We want the Britannia Stadium rocking once again; a repeat of the atmosphere which we had for the Everton match.”
He added: “The supporters recognise when we need them most in our home games and they really got us going in the second half against Everton. They helped us to get back in the game and we looked the more likely winners after that.”
The Liverpool match is the latest test of another tough period in which the Potters also face Manchester City and Chelsea in the New Year, but they will go into the Boxing Day clash in good spirits after recent results.
The current unbeaten run of eight matches is their best in the Premier League while they have now kept nine clean sheets in 18 matches, giving them the best defensive record in the top-flight and one of the best in Europe.
“Liverpool are one of the biggest and most successful clubs in the country and we know that we are going to show the same commitment and spirit we have done in recent matches if we are to get a result out of it,” said Pulis.
“We’ve played a lot better against the bigger clubs this season, but what we’ve got to do is make sure we do that for longer periods.
“We are very committed and very organised, which gives us a solid base. We just need to be more careful in the final third of the pitch and take our chances. That was the case at Tottenham when we played well in the first half.”