Fuller fitness concern for Pulis

Stoke manager Tony Pulis will make a late check on his globe-trotting striker Ricardo Fuller before deciding whether he starts against Tottenham tomorrow.

Fuller breathed new life into Jamaica’s World Cup qualifying campaign when he scored a 25-yard shot to secure a shock win over Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Mexico last weekend.

And he and his countrymen followed that up by beating Honduras on Wednesday to set up what will now be a vital clash at home to Canada on November 19.

Pulis said: “I hope Ric comes back safe and sound and full of life, but it’s been a big week for him and we will have to assess how much he’s got left in his tank.

“He’s made some long plane journeys and there’s an eight or nine hour time difference from where he’s been. Ric’s biological clock is a big worry.

“We’ve had problems when he’s been away before. The last time he came back from international duty he had picked up a virus and it took him a couple of weeks to get going again.

“On the plus side, he scored a great goal against Mexico and he should be on a high. As I said, we will take a look at him and make a late decision.”

Tomorrow’s clash is being billed as a ’six-pointer’ and some pundits have tipped Stoke’s physical approach to take another bite out of Tottenham’s soft underbelly.

But Pulis is convinced someone will feel the backlash of Juande Ramos’ team sooner rather than later and he is just hoping it will not be Stoke.

He said: “Their luck will change at some stage. I’ve watched Spurs twice, at Portsmouth and against Hull, and they were the better side in both games.

“They had most of the play at Portsmouth, but missed their chances. Against Hull they dominated the game and were very unfortunate to lose.

“I know people will say it is a good time to play them when they are down, but they’ve got a fantastic squad of players and we are under no illusions. This is going to be a very tough game.”

Pulis has had the help of former Tottenham manager Gerry Francis in preparing for the game after he agreed to join the Stoke coaching staff on a two-day-a-week contract.

Francis has been working at Stoke on a casual basis for several weeks and made his stay more formal after turning down an offer to join Joe Kinnear at Newcastle.

Pulis said: “I’ve known Gerry for a few years and he’s a smashing fella and a very experienced football person.

“The players have enjoyed the sessions he’s done and I know Gerry has enjoyed working with them.

“Having him here a couple of days a week has freshened things up and we are delighted he’s going to stay.

“I will be able to pick his brains and another bonus is he puts his hand in his pockets and actually buys a drink, which will be a nice change from the rest of my staff.”

Stoke will also have the vast majority of another sell-out crowd of 27,500 on their side tomorrow, a factor which pleases Pulis immensely.

He added: “The supporters have recognised they’ve got an important part to play for the football club and they’ve been absolutely top drawer.

“They know they have got to help us and be resilient in the toughest league in the world. They’ve got the bit between their teeth and turned the Britannia Stadium into a special place.”

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