TONY PULIS is relishing the prospect of his Stoke City side making it a double celebration at the weekend . . . after their hard-fought draw at Sunderland edged them closer to being mathematically safe from relegation.
Pulis hopes his players can make absolutely sure of a sixth season in the Barclays Premier League when they face Champions League hopefuls Tottenham Hotspur, an occasion when the Potters will be celebrating their 150th Anniversary.
The draw in the live televised match at the Stadium of Light moved City onto 41 points and consolidated their position in eleventh place, even though there was some disappointment at allowing ten-man Sunderland back into the game.
“We’re almost there now and we have the chance to make it a day of double celebration when the Club marks its 150th Anniversary,” said Pulis. “To secure a sixth season in the Premier League would be the perfect to mark the occasion.
“In any other season, I think we would be done and dusted now in terms of safety with 41 points, but it’s incredibly tight down there, and there are still some big, big clubs below us who are fighting for their lives to stay in this League.
“It’s very surreal when you look at the table and if it means we still have to get a point or two from our final two matches, then that is what we will have to go out and do. But we’re now looking to push on in those remaining games.
“We’re unbeaten in our last three matches, we’re on 41 points and we’re eleventh in the table, so we’re very pleased with that position.”
Pulis admitted that the first half bookings picked up by Dean Whitehead and Steven Nzonzi shortly after the red card shown to Craig Gardner had a bearing on the outcome of the encounter as Sunderland hit back after the break.
“I thought our two central midfielders stood off a little bit in the second half, but that was probably because they had been booked, so they knew one rash challenge would have led to them being sent off,” commented City’s manager.
“But you also have to give credit to Sunderland and their supporters. They took the game by the scruff of the neck and had a right go.
“They had nothing to lose in that situation, being down to ten men, but we did, having got ourselves into a position to win the game.
“Their supporters were magnificent too, roaring them on. They needed them like we need our fans behind us at the Britannia Stadium.”
He added: “We are a little disappointed that we didn’t get all three points from the position we were in, especially as we started the game so well, but it’s still a great point and you can’t fault the commitment and spirit of the players.
"Nevertheless, in that situation, when you are playing against ten men, we could perhaps have done to have shown more quality in certain areas."