Fuller set for Potters role

Stoke’s hot-headed striker Ricardo Fuller is expected to be on the bench at Tottenham tonight after completing a three-match ban for striking team-mate Andy Griffin.

Stoke’s hot-headed striker Ricardo Fuller is expected to be on the bench at Tottenham tonight after completing a three-match ban for striking team-mate Andy Griffin.

Fuller hit the headlines – as well as Griffin – after he was sent off following the infamous bust-up at West Ham almost a month ago.

Some angry supporters called for the club to sack the Jamaica international, claiming his red card had led to a damaging defeat.

But Stoke boss Tony Pulis has stood by his six-goal top scorer and insists Fuller and Griffin soon patched up their differences.

Pulis said: “People can read into things what they want, but what happened has certainly not destabilised the group. There is a smashing atmosphere among the players.

“Ric and Griff were mates before the incident and they are mates again now. They have got on with the business and we put it behind us.

“Of course we never want to see anything like that happen again and I’m confident it won’t. Ric has been full of beans in training and knows we need him on the pitch.”

Stoke and Tottenham are among five teams on 21 points at the wrong end of the table, but Pulis does not believe tonight’s match will have a massive effect on the fight for survival.

He said: “It is all about holding your nerve and staying focused. If we should lose at Tottenham it won’t be the end of the world because there will still be 15 games to go.

“The way the table is almost anybody could get dragged into it. If we could win three games on the spin at any stage, which is possible, we could climb into the top half of the league.”

Stoke spent four days at a training camp in Dubai last week and Pulis hopes the break will give his team an edge over Tottenham, who have been busy on Carling Cup and FA Cup duty.

But Pulis, who locks horns again with his former mentor Harry Redknapp, said: “Harry is a crafty old fox and he will be doing his utmost to win this game.

“(Jonathan) Woodgate and (Aaron) Lennon were rested at Manchester United on Saturday and (Jermain) Defoe only came on as a late substitute. He’s also brought in a lot of new faces and he could almost turn out a different team against us.”

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