Newport's Pulis goes for FA Cup glory
7:10am Saturday 14th May 2011 in Gwent Football
NEWPORT’S Tony Pulis goes for glory at Wembley this afternoon and he believes the power of the people could see Stoke City lift the FA Cup for the first time in its history.
Pulis has nothing but praise for the club’s raucous supporters as they prepare to face Manchester City.
Stoke may be the underdogs but go into the final showdown in a rich vein of form after only one defeat in nine games.
Pulis, who could be the first Welsh manager to lift the famous old trophy, said: “We have built a community club over the last five and a half years that the supporters have really grasped and taken us forward.
“It has not been the players, it has not been the chairman or coaching staff, it has been the whole community that has done this.
“The FA Cup is about dreams. I have watched City a couple of times and they are a very good side with excellent players. I am sure next year they will move up an extra gear.
“They are an emerging force and we know what sort of task we are facing. But we are determined that the players are relaxed and the supporters have a great day out.” Pulis will have a lump in his throat when he leads the team out after watching the showpiece occasion as a wide-eyed child growing up in Pill in Newport.
He added: “It will be very special. The FA Cup has been a massive part of my life. It is such a special day with great memories.”
Stoke have been scoring goals for fun in recent weeks and that is why Pulis is keen to have Matthew Etherington on board against City.
The former West Ham winger is struggling to shake off a hamstring injury while defender Robert Huth is also doubtful with a knee problem.
Huth limped off against Arsenal last weekend – the only blip in a win that did wonders for the team’s self-belief ahead of the meeting with City.
Stoke have qualified for the Europa League next season as their opponents have already booked a place in the Champions League.
Pulis is thrilled at the way they have opened teams up going into arguably the biggest game in the club’s history.
“We have been very free flowing in respect of scoring goals, ’’ said the Welsh boss. The lads are full of confidence.
“The last month we have been very pleased with (Kenwyne) Jones, (Jon) Walters, Jermaine Pennant and Etherington.”
Manchester City’s Yaya Toure says he would take more pleasure out of winning the FA Cup with the Eastlands outfit than if he had achieved greater glory with one of England’s traditional powerhouses.
At various times in his career, the huge Ivorian was linked with Arsenal and Manchester United.
With both clubs, Toure could have expected to challenge for honours, and even become a Champions League winner, as he was with Barcelona in 2009.
However, while today’s clash is on a substantially less grand scale to European football’s showpiece a fortnight later, the depth of feeling is so much greater.
“It was a big decision to sign for City, but it was also very exciting,” he said.
“For this club, it was a dream to get to the Champions League, and a dream to win a trophy. But that dream is coming true and for me, that is more satisfying.”