Lawrence cautious as Stoke stride clear

Liam Lawrence has insisted Stoke will not become complacent despite moving six points clear of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.

The Stoke midfielder helped Tony Pulis’ side achieve their first away victory of the campaign at bottom-placed West Brom at the weekend.

And the Potters can increase the gap between themselves and the bottom three by winning at home to 18th-placed Newcastle on Saturday.

But Lawrence is taking nothing for granted as Stoke look to guarantee top-flight football at the Britannia Stadium for a second successive campaign.

He said: “There is no doubt that the win over West Brom was one of our most crucial victories of the season.

“It was our first away win and it has put a bit of distance between ourselves and a couple of teams.

“To get that first away win under our belts is massive. We have been pushing on and doing the right thing in the last few games and working really hard for each other.

“But we are not getting carried away. There is still a long way to go and anything can happen. There is still work to be done and another big game coming up against Newcastle.”

Lawrence has been quick to acknowledge the contribution of striker James Beattie, who scored his sixth goal in just 10 games during the 2-0 win at West Brom.

The former England international made a £3.5m move from Sheffield United in January and Lawrence said: “James Beattie has been massive for us. He is proven quality in this league.

“He has got six goals for us already and I think he will get double figures before the end of the season.”

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