By Sam Beavis: Tony Pulis is expecting one of the toughest games of the season when his side face in-form Sunderland at the Britannia Stadium.
The Potters are facing a side who have collected 19 points from nine games since Martin O’Neill took over as manager, while Stoke have only won once in the last seven games.
Pulis said: “It’ll be as tough a game as we have had at the Britannia this year, no doubt about it.
“Sunderland are the form team in the Premier League. I went and saw them on Wednesday night and Martin has got them winning. They have got loads of confidence and Martin has really got them going.”
Pulis also paid tribute to the work that O’Neill has achieved not just at Sunderland but throughout his entire career.
“The record says that he is a top manager because he gets results. I’ve got a lot of respect for him, he’s a very good man and I enjoy his company.
“If England are looking for an British manager and it’s not going to be Harry [Redknapp] then Martin would be a fantastic choice.”
With Stoke competing in three competitions (the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Europa League), Pulis has claimed that this has been the toughest period of his managerial career and has called on the supporters to spur his side on.
Stoke may be without Matthew Etherington who is suffering with a virus.