Stoke City: Pulis draws comfort from Potters' points haul
STOKE head east to face Norwich City tomorrow with six draws already from their nine Premier League fixtures.
Only Sunderland can top that percentage after drawing six of their eight games following last weekend's stalemate at the Britannia Stadium.
Manchester United are the sole side to have failed to draw any league games so far this term, while Norwich face Stoke after drawing four of their nine outings.
Stoke's record leaves some fans looking at a glass half full, but others at a glass half empty, as the Potters are both hard to beat and finding it hard to win.
Either way, says manager Tony Pulis, the closeness of Stoke's games this term is not exclusive to them.
"I've spoken to all the managers we've played against this season," he said, "and they say that apart from the top four or five clubs, the league has got more competitive.
"There's more draws than for a long time, so you can see things have tightened up.
"All are saying 'get to 40 points as quickly as we can and then take it from there'.
"You mustn't take it for granted when you are in the Premier League and think you are part of the furniture."
A principle he swears by when casting an eye back over those 10 years since he was first appointed by Stoke.
"If you sit here taking the slaps on the back, then you are taking your foot off the pedal," he added.
"The Premier League is a tough league and it can all fall away very quickly.
"When it's all over, I will probably sit back and have a chuckle about what we did and what we achieved."
Pulis, right, spied on a changed Norwich line-up in midweek when they came from behind to score two late goals and dump Tottenham out of the Capital One Cup. That followed a draw at Aston Villa and a home win over Arsenal as Norwich, now under Chris Hughton following Paul Lambert's summer departure, belatedly begin flexing their muscles down towards the wrong end of the table.
"Chris is a good manager, a good man and he's got good people with him," Pulis observed.
"Paul Trollope and Colin Calderwood are good people. They have both managed themselves, so they both know what management is about.
"The club is set up in a very sound way and they have just taken it on from what Paul (Lambert) left.
"Chris has done a good job wherever he's been, but they are fortunate in some respects to take over a football club already well run."
Just like Stoke City back in 2002.
THE Stoke City Premier League Scrapbook by David Lee has just been published by way of a very early stocking filler for Christmas.
Taking a whimsical look at all Stoke's games in their first four seasons in the Premier, it lightheartedly reproduces quotes from reports and observations taken at the time.
There are also complimentary articles reproduced from the Oatcake Fanzine, all penned by the book's author himself, to provide an affectionate and humorous journey through four memorable years in this history of Stoke City.
The book is priced at £4.99 and available from Webberleys (Hanley), WH Smith (Newcastle), Amazon and, before too long no doubt, eBay.