Pulis predicts close finish

Stoke City

Tony Pulis has told his Stoke players to put off planning their summer holidays and concentrate on the job of Premier League safety.

Last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Newcastle – which has left Stoke six points clear of the drop zone – led many pundits to predict the Potters will escape the top-flight trapdoor.

But Pulis has dismissed any notion of premature celebrations and has banned all such talk from the training ground until is mathematically set in stone that Stoke are safe.

Pulis said: “There are still six games to go and it is so tight down there that almost anything can happen. We’ve emphasised to the players that they need to keep their foot on full gas but, in fairness to them, they know the score.”

He added: “It’s going to be a very tough game against Blackburn [on Saturday], who have been in this league for a long time and have some very good players. [Rovers boss] Sam Allardyce inherited a good squad and he will have them fired up to the hilt.

“I’m not setting a points target for safety because no one knows what that target is. All we do is concentrate on the next game and keep doing that until the mathematics say we will be in the Premiership next season.”