Crystal Palace v Stoke City: Pulis clear on godfather's FA Cup threat
TONY Pulis admits to a soft spot – but definitely not a blind spot – where Ian Holloway is concerned.
Pulis has known the Palace boss for around 40 years, while the pair have locked horns plenty of times from opposite dugouts.
And Pulis isn’t fooled by Holloway’s clowning image after appreciating the winning mentality that has driven him on to six managerial postings since 1996.
Pulis was a player and Holloway a scruffy young hopeful when they first met at Bristol Rovers to trigger a friendship between both families that would culminate in the latter being godfather to the former’s only son.
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“I’ve known Ian since he was no more than 12 years of age,” said Pulis.
“He was just a little kiddie who used to carry the sticks across the park for us at training. His mum and dad were lovely people as well, typical Bristolians.
“It’s been great to see Ian do so well, not just as a manager, but also as a player, especially at QPR at the back end of his career.
“He’s now doing what he loves, whether it’s in the Championship, Premier League, Second Division or whatever.
“He enjoys it and he’s as daft as me in that respect. He’s got tremendous enthusiasm and you should never take that away from him.”
Holloway left Blackpool for Crystal Palace in early November after Dougie Freedman’s surprise move north to take over at Bolton.
Holloway’s achievement was not fashioning a promotion push, but maintaining the one already kick-started by Freedman at Selhurst Park.
“I think you have to give the previous manager a lot of credit for putting the team together,” Pulis observed.
“But Ian has since gone in there and kept it going... and that’s good management.”
Palace’s New Year Day win over Wolves in south London left them third in the table, but was their first win in six.
“They are flying in the Championship, full of confidence and scoring goals for fun, so it will be difficult for us,” Pulis cautioned.
“It’s a very good team and everybody seems to know what they are doing.
“They’ve got good players wide, they’ve got players like the Brazilian Moritz behind Glenn Murray and they’ve got an experienced back four.
“We’ve been pulled out of the hat away from home again (for a fifth successive occasion), but we’ll go down there and deal with it.
“Our players need a break from the Premier League, so I think they’ll relish it.”
Pulis not only trots out the old cliche about Selhurst Park being a tough place to play – but says it’s also a tough place to find. “I can never find my way there,” he joked. “Or find my way out again.”