TONY PULIS has backed Charlie Adam to produce more crucial goals for Stoke City following his matchwinning performance against Fulham . . . by staying in close touch with Peter Crouch.
The Scottish international midfielder grabbed the winner for the second successive home game when he swivelled to fire home a knock down from Crouch in the first half of the 1-0 victory over the Cottagers.
That followed Adam's decider in the win over Queens Park Rangers a fortnight ago when he was also on hand to fire home after the England striker had caused problems for the visitors' defence.
"We've told Charlie to get a lot closer to Crouchy," Pulis revealed after seeing his side climb to eleventh place in the Barclays Premier League table following the 1-0 victory over Fulham.
"Crouchy is as good a target man as anybody in the Premier League and he possesses both the ability and quality to open doors for others around him. We want Charlie to get on the end of them.
"We were looking for him to get 10 goals this season when we signed him and I am confident that he can achieve that because he can certainly finish when you present him with the chances."
Nevertheless, Pulis was frustrated that his side had to survive a nerve-racking final few minutes of the game as they held onto the slender lead which Adam had given them in the 26th minute.
"We have got to start taking more of our chances more because we have created some excellent ones again today," added City's manager. "We could have had four or five goals today.
"That's been the problem so far this season; we need that second goal. Even at West Ham on Monday night, we had the opportunities to have got that second goal before they scored."
He added: "I thought we absolutely murdered them for long periods of the match, but the fact that we only managed to score once meant we got very nervous in the final 10 minutes."
"They're a good team, but I don't think they played as well as they can do. That's credit to the lads though because they made it very difficult for them and the supporters were fantastic too."
The result stretched City's unbeaten run to 13 matches in the Premier League at the Britannia Stadium and they have now won three and drawn three at home so far this season.
Pulis is also delighted that one of the best defensive records in the top-flight has meant that they have only conceded one goal at home in six games and kept four successive clean sheets.
"We've got as good a defensive record as anyone in the Premier League which we are delighted about, but we are also looking more threatening going forward," he commented.
"When you're trying to evolve as we are as a side, it takes time, but we're pleased with how we are progressing and if we can start taking those chances, we'll be even happier."