Crystal Palace V Stoke at Selhurst Park : Match Preview
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Pulis focussed on picking up points
Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis will treat Saturday's game against former side Stoke the same as any other as he looks to steer the Eagles back out of the Barclays Premier League bottom three.
The 56-year-old ended a 10-year reign as Stoke boss last summer and was soon back in top-flight management when he replaced Ian Holloway at Selhurst Park in November.
Results have improved since, but a run of just one point from their last three league outings has seen Palace drop to the foot of the table, meaning a Stoke reunion in south London this weekend is all about the result for Pulis, who remains keen to add to his squad during the transfer window.
"It is always about the three points," he said.
"Those memories will stay with me, the area and the people I met, not just around the football club.
"Ourselves and Sunderland were cut off at one stage. Sunderland have come back and we have come back at it. What we have to do is make sure you push on from there and that is the important thing.
"We are looking at all areas and we need to strengthen in all areas.
"We have got injuries we need to deal with, but I think we need to get players in to help us. We haven't done it yet but we certainly need to."
Pulis will be low on numbers for the visit of Mark Hughes' Stoke, with on-loan striker Cameron Jerome ineligible to face his parent club and midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi still sidelined with a calf injury.
Glenn Murray remains a long-term absentee, along with full-back Jack Hunt and club-captain Paddy McCarthy.
The latter has started to make his comeback following a lengthy spell out with a groin injury, and the former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international has been impressed by Palace's transformation under Pulis.
"The lads have applied themselves unbelievably well," McCarthy said.
"They have bought into the new ideas the new manager has brought to the club and we are moving forward at a rapid pace. With the group we have, I'm quietly confident we have enough in the squad to pick up the points to keep us safe this year."
Stoke boss Hughes is sure the Pulis factor will add spice to the game.
He said: "We have probably got a unique insight into how Tony sets up his teams.
"You would say that, given the personnel that are still here, they will have a better understanding than most opposition that Tony will go up against with his new team.
"That could be an advantage, but obviously he'll have an insight into what we are doing.
"We are trying to change somewhat, but certainly he'll know the individuals involved and their strengths and weaknesses, so it is an interesting battle of wills."
Hughes is trying to implement a flowing style of football at Stoke, but has been keen to pay tribute to the work done by Pulis at the club.
"The group of players here are a credit to the work that had been done before - the quality of the players in terms of their attitude to work and their application on a daily basis is first class," Hughes said.
"That comes from having good standards within the club, and that happens over a period of time.
"So certainly that influence from Tony Pulis is very evident in the group I work with."
Hughes has little doubt that Stoke fans will also be eager to show their appreciation on Saturday for Pulis' efforts during his Potters tenure - at least until their focus switches to the action of the match.
"I'm sure the vast majority of them will give him a huge welcome," Hughes said.
"But I think the focus will very quickly turn to supporting Stoke and getting behind us like they always do.
"They always travel in great numbers for us and they will be totally behind everybody with a Stoke shirt on.
"They will recognise the work and effort that Tony put into the club, but very quickly move to cheering their team on, I'm sure."
Stoke striker Kenwyne Jones will not be involved as a result of his refusal to play against Liverpool last weekend.
Hughes has decided Jones, who has been fined two weeks' wages, should not be considered for selection, but he will include a new frontman in his matchday squad in John Guidetti, recruited on loan from Manchester City earlier this week.
Another loanee, winger Oussama Assaidi, is back available having not been eligible to feature in the 5-3 defeat to his parent club Liverpool, and Jack Butland is set to continue in goal after playing his first full top-flight match on that occasion.
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