Tony Pulis, the Stoke City manager, has insisted that he will "look after" winger Jermaine Pennant, ahead of his court appearance on driving charges.
Pennant was charged after being involved in a collision in the early hours of Sunday morning, but it emerged yesterday that he has also been arrested and released on bail for allegedly assaulting a woman in a Manchester nightclub that night.
Speaking about the driving charges, but before news of the arrest for assault, Pulis said that the club would support Pennant and delay judgement until his court appearance next Wednesday. "We've taken the approach as a club that we will look after him," Pulis told reporters. "We will see what the situation is when it gets to court. Up until then I am in the dark as much as you lot in respect of knowing what exactly happened or didn't."
"Come and see me on 9 May and I'll talk about [the driving charges] then, quite openly," Pulis added. "After that come and see us and I will tell you, but I ain't going to stand here and hang the kiddie before we know what it is. We will deal with it in house when and if."
Pennant will appear at Trafford magistrates' court on 9 May to answer charges of drink-driving, driving while disqualified and without insurance. These charges came after police were called to a collision in Sale, Greater Manchester, between Pennant's white BMW and a silver Audi. The driver of the Audi was taken to hospital with a minor back injury.
But the former Arsenal and Liverpool player has also been arrested over an incident earlier that same evening. "At approximately 3.30am on Sunday 29 April a woman was assaulted at a nightclub on Barton Arcade, Manchester city centre," a Greater Manchester Police spokeswoman said. "A 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of Section 47 assault."
As well as the Pennant case, it seems Pulis will soon also be dealing with an unhappy player. Cameron Jerome, who came off the bench to score the equaliser in Tuesday night's 1-1 draw with Everton – in which Pennant did not play – said afterwards that he does not believe he has been given the chance he deserves this season, and that the Stoke manager has not been fair.
"I've not had the run of games I would've liked," Jerome said. "I think I've been hard done by, to be honest. I've not been given a fair crack of the whip, or what I'd think is a fair run."
Jerome believes that Pulis could have handled his rotation system better. "If it was a case of rotating fairly on form then I'd be happy," he said. "But I'm not getting a look-in, regardless of how other people perform, or regardless of how the team perform. You can come on week in, week out and make an impact, but still not get a start. Obviously then you have to ask yourself questions."
Jerome said he would think hard about his future in the summer. "I'll have to sit down and speak to the manager to see if I figure in his plans." he said.