Stoke City: Pulis braces himself for Lampard swan-song at Brit
FRANK Lampard could hit an impromptu diversion on to the A500 and into Stoke-on-Trent should he ever drive up the M6 to join Manchester United in the summer.
For Tony Pulis would love to add the veteran's skill, knowledge, experience and inspirational qualities to his dressing room.
He says it's up to European champions Chelsea whether they re-sign the 34-year-old England international, but it's obvious Pulis would already have him tied to another contract if he was in charge at Stamford Bridge.
And it's not hard to see why as his next appearance for the club will be his 562nd and his next goal his 194th.
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"Frank has been a fantastic player for Chelsea," says Pulis. "He is a great lad and a top professional.
"But Chelsea have been good for him too when you see the medals and trophies Frank has won at that club.
"As a young kid starting out in football he needed a vehicle to achieve what he has achieved, so Chelsea have been fantastic for Frank as well.
"But whether they should offer him a new contract is not my decision."
Whatever the outcome this summer, says Pulis, it would be depressing to see it all end in acrimonious divorce.
"It has been a great marriage and you just hope it doesn't end in tears," he said.
"You hope a true star of the club walks away and everyone applauds what he has done."
Old Trafford is one viable destination for Lampard, pictured, should Chelsea cut him adrift, but Pulis isn't sure he would ever make that journey up the M6.
"He's always played in the south when you look at it," he reasoned, "so I don't think he will come up north."
The midlfielder will certainly be coming up north tomorrow, however, for Pulis is convinced Lampard will start at the Britannia Stadium following his demotion to the bench against Swansea in midweek.
"They will make changes," he forecast. "They will come with (Demba) Ba and Lampard in the team.
"They will be difficult for us, but everyone in the town knows that because they are the European champions."