TONY PULIS insists that his resurgent Stoke City side will not be distracted by events to commemorate the Club’s 150th Anniversary before Sunday’s live televised Barclays Premier League clash with Tottenham at the Britannia Stadium.
City’s final home game of the 2012-13 campaign has been designated as the focal point of the year-long celebrations and among the special events will be a parade of more than 80 ex-Potters stars, including World Cup winners Gordon Banks and Sir Geoff Hurst.
Pulis recognises the significance of the day, but says his only focus is on trying to put another dent in Spurs’ hopes of clinching a top-four finish and a place in the Champions League.
“It’s a big game for us,” he said. “It celebrates the 150th Anniversary of this Football Club and the Club have got a lot of events going on around the game.
“What we’ve got to make sure we do on the football side is concentrate on giving Tottenham a decent game and ensuring that we put a show on for the fans.
“When the game kicks off, we’re hoping that we can have a go at Tottenham and get the crowd going, get them behind us and push on to a big performance.”
He added: “It should be a cracking game which we’re all looking forward to. Spurs have got an outstanding group of players and they’ll come here knowing that they really have to win the game to keep their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League alive.
“All the focus has been on Gareth Bale’s outstanding achievements, but they’ve got quality throughout the squad. You only have to look at their bench; they have so many players who can come on and change the game, which is why they are pushing for a top four spot.
“The game is likely to become more stretched as it goes on and we have to be very careful because if we get too stretched then they are capable of ripping you to bits.
“The important thing is we stick to our principles; work very, very hard and hopefully put on a good performance because it is great to be playing one of the big clubs on this occasion.”
City have taken seven points from their last three outings to climb into eleventh place in the Premier League table, six points clear of the relegation zone.
Pulis added: “It’s always a big weekend when we play any game in the Premier League – staying in this division is so important to the Club and to the city and everybody concerned with it.
“For us to be here, talking about going into our sixth consecutive season in the Premier League is great; an unbelievable feat when you consider how far we’ve come. It’s not that long ago that we were an average Championship club going nowhere.
“When we played Bolton in our first Premier League game five years ago, we got beaten 3-1 and the bookies paid out on us getting relegated.
“People were talking about us recording the lowest number of points, so it’s a fantastic achievement by the Club and everyone concerned.”