TONY PULIS has backed Stoke City to bring their frustrating sequence of near-misses to an end in away matches as they prepare for Monday’s evening’s tough test in the live televised encounter with West Ham United at Upton Park.
Pulis is mystified that his side have taken only three points from matches on their travels this season and are still looking for their first away win since the beginning of the year despite some promising performances in more recent outings.
City must now try to overcome a West Ham side whose confidence is sky high after an excellent return to the Premier League which sees them sitting seventh in the table, the latest of their successes a fine win at Newcastle United.
The fact that the Potters are unbeaten in five matches at the Britannia Stadium has highlighted the difference between their home and away form.
When asked why there is such a big difference in their record, Pulis admitted: “I honestly don’t know. The reason why, I just can’t work out.
“Our away performances have been very good and we have created lots of chances to win games of football, but just haven’t got over the line.
“It will happen though, I am convinced of that. As long as the players keep believing and working as hard as they have been doing, we’ll be fine.”
Pulis pointed to the performances in away matches in which City have drawn at Reading, Wigan and Liverpool, while suffering narrow defeats at Chelsea and Norwich City, as well as eventually going down 4-2 at Manchester United in the end.
“We’ve actually played better away from home at times than we have done at home,” added Pulis in his pre-match press conference ahead of the game.
“For some reason, we just can’t seem to turn the performances into victories. If you look back, Reading got a penalty in the 93rd minute to equalise, while at Wigan the ‘keeper makes an outstanding save to deny us a late winner.
“We were beaten by a late goal at Chelsea, we played better than we have ever done at Manchester United and we got a great point at Liverpool. Then in the last away game, we missed chances at Norwich which would have earned us at least a draw.”
Pulis has paid tribute to the impact made by Sam Allardyce since he took over West Ham after they had been relegated from the Premier League.
“Sam has done a great job wherever he has been and maybe at times he doesn’t get the praise he deserves,” commented City’s manager.
“Look at his record over many years now going back to Notts County, then what he did at Bolton was remarkable and, of course, Blackburn. Both those clubs featured regularly in the top half of the Premier League, yet now where are they?
“They must be doing somersaults at West Ham at what they have achieved this season and Sam deserves a hell of a lot of credit for that.”