Stoke City: Crystal Palace FA Cup draw a poisoned chalice, says Pulis
TONY Pulis believes Stoke City drew the short straw after being dispatched to Championship high-fliers Crystal Palace in the third round of the FA Cup.
The tie, the first out of the hat when the draw was made at Wembley Stadium yesterday, promises plenty of difficulty for the Potters and very little romance.
It also pits Pulis against Ian Holloway again following his old friend's recent move from Blackpool to Selhurst Park.
"Ian's a great character and he's certainly hit the ground running after moving to Palace," said Pulis.
Cheap Car Insurance For Drink Drivers -Contact Insure365 01782...View details
Cheap Car Insurance For Drink Drivers -Contact Insure365 01782 898188, Free Legal Protection Included valued at £25.00
Terms: 1 Voucher Per Customer
Contact: 01782 898188
Valid until: Friday, June 21 2013
"Once you step outside of the Premier League, it doesn't get any more difficult than drawing one of the top teams in the Championship away.
"I'm sure they will be up for it, and their fans too, and we have to go there and be ready for whatever is thrown at us.
"The Premier League will always be the most important thing for us, of course, but we've also shown in recent years how seriously we have taken and respected the FA Cup.
"In the last three years we've reached a final and been beaten in the quarter-finals at Chelsea and Liverpool.
"We'd love another good crack at such a great competition again, but the draw has obviously made it an extremely difficult first hurdle to get over," added Pulis, whose team have now been drawn away in five successive FA Cup ties.
The Palace match, which will be played on either January 5 or 6, sees Stoke visit Selhurst Park for the first time since a 3-1 win in the Championship in October 2007.
The two teams last met when Palace won 2-1 at the Britannia in April 2008 – ironically triggering Stoke's late-season dash towards promotion to the top flight.
They have crossed swords just once before in the FA Cup when Stoke won a third round tie 1-0 at the Victoria Ground in January 1989.
Yesterday's draw came with Stoke on the crest of a wave after Saturday's 1-0 success at West Bromwich Albion made it 13 points from the last 15.
Skipper Ryan Shawcross was again prominent, and Pulis says his giant defender should sign his new six-year contract well before Christmas.
He explained: "It's a big contract for Ryan and a big deal for the club. They are close and I don't think it will be too much of a problem.
"There are a few little things we have to iron out, but it's not far away."
Pulis acknowledged the strength of his captain's central defensive partnership with Robert Huth and said he wouldn't swap them for another pair in the Premier League.
"They are also great mates off the pitch and that helps as well," he revealed. "Huthy is the more experienced, but Ryan has been immense.
"Obviously I've got an allegiance to him because I brought him to the club as a 19-year-old. He's worked hard since then and loves the club."
Charlie Adam will sit out next Saturday's trip to Aston Villa after picking up a one-match ban for reaching five bookings after being cautioned at The Hawthorns.