Tony Pulis: Stoke City squad needs fresh blood in January transfer window
TONY Pulis has revealed he would like to sign a couple of fresh faces during the January transfer window – but will have to sell before he can buy.
Pulis, speaking after Stoke's 3-0 loss at champions Manchester City yesterday, said his squad would benefit from a minor spring clean to help consolidate a successful first half to their season.
• GALLERY: Match Action: Manchester City 3 Stoke City 0
"The squad needs some fresh blood," said the Stoke boss, "but we have to generate the money by moving people on and so we will have to wheel and deal.
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"If we can't do that, then we'll go with the players we have."
Pulis has already created one space on the payroll after Stoke released veteran defender Danny Higginbotham to allow him to sign a contract until the end of the season with League One Sheffield United following this week's return from a loan spell at championship outfit Ipswich.
And it is no coincidence that Higginbotham is a full-back – one area of the pitch Pulis is keen to strengthen if possible before the end of the month.
Yesterday's defeat at The Etihad was a one-sided affair that saw Stoke tamely surrender their 10-match unbeaten run, but Pulis rejected any suggestion he went defensive against the league champions – and pointed instead to their much greater spending power.
"You give me £220m now and then I'll come back next year and see how we get on," he said.
"There are certain clubs who are a little bit ahead of us and City certainly are. We have to be at our maximum and bring our 'A' game – and we weren't.
"But I'm not having a go at my players. City were simply better than us because they have world-class players all over the pitch.
"I thought it's no good sitting and waiting to get beat and that's why I wanted to play a bit more positive with three forwards. I played with Jon Walters, Cameron Jerome and Kenwyne Jones, with Charlie Adam just behind them, who you hope can create chances.
"It was as attacking a team that I've put out against one of the big teams away from home.
"But you have to give City credit. As soon as they get behind you there's trouble."
Pulis, pictured, said it was heartening to see Adam back in action for the first time since the sudden death of his father a fortnight ago.
"We wanted to give him an hour because we are concerned with his fitness after everything and it was nice to get him back on the pitch," he said.
Pulis will assess his squad when they return to training tomorrow before deciding whether to make changes to his line-up for Saturday's third round FA Cup clash at Crystal Palace.
"The teams you don't want to pull out of the hat are those at the top of the Championship like Palace because they are on a high," he warned.
"But we like everything against us at this club because we thrive on that, so we'll go there and give it a right crack."
Match action: Pages 44 to 47