Stoke Boss In Tribute To Cardiff City Strikers
Stoke City manager Tony Pulis has spoken of his admiration for Cardiff City`s attacking prowess ahead of our trip to face the Potters at the Brittania Stadium tomorrow. The game is an FA Cup third round tie and pits Cardiff City against an established and strong Premiership side, but without the glamour we have been lucky to draw in recent seasons (Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea etc).
The Bluebirds are also less likely to prioritise the FA Cup this time around as we sit in a lofty 2nd position, but with a number of teams very close behind after a torrid run of form hampered our progress. Stoke City have the right balance of strength, flair and experience to make this game a very difficult proposition for us, while Dave Jones will be reluctant to name his strongest XI after a busy Christmas period, and the importance of upcoming games.
Speaking to the Stoke City official site, Tony Pulis commented on the Bluebirds forwards, many of whom he is very familiar with:
'Their forward line would certainly not go amiss in the Premier League.'
'I know Jay very well and, if anything, we should may be have kept him here, I've got a lot of time for him and he has done very well for himself.
'We tried to sign Craig [Bellamy] because he was as good as anyone in the Manchester City side last season and it was a surprise that they decided to let him go. He's a smashing lad who I am sure would have fitted in well here, but he wanted to go back home.
'Jon was a larger than life character who was great to have around the place and he played a major part in us winning promotion to the Premier League.'
'With Chopra as well, our defenders are going to know they have been in a game on Saturday and it should make for an exciting cup tie.'
Cardiff City also have Andy Keogh on loan from Wolves, and he is perhaps more likely to play than any of the above mentioned names. Bothroyd (hamstring, heel) and Parkin (ankle, knee) are both struggling with injuries and while both are close to a return, Jones will be reluctant to risk either. Craig Bellamy too is likely to be rested to avoid injury to his troublesome knee. The on-loan Man City player is advised not to play back-to-back games within a week and has already played two within four days.
Cardiff City fans will doubtless be more worried about our defence than attack when we face Stoke. The Bluebirds` leaky back-line has been vulnerable all season, and the Potters are doing well enough in the top flight with the likes of Etherington, Pennant, Kenwyn Jones and of course Rory Delap`s dangerous set-piece deliveries.
Welshman Tony Pulis was born in Newport and has maintained close links with Cardiff City. He is also close friends with Dave Jones and will not be taking the Bluebirds lightly.