Tony Pulis relishing Manchester United visit

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The Independent Online

Stoke manager Tony Pulis admits a date with Manchester United at the Britannia Stadium is the stuff of dreams.

The Potters have made a decent start to their second season in the top flight and have a home record that is the envy of many.

And the Welsh boss, while respectful of United, expects his side to continue in positive mode against the Barclays Premier League champions tomorrow.

Pulis said: "We surprised a lot of teams last year and they will give us a lot more credence now. That has made it much more difficult in many ways.

"We have made improvements but there is no way in a million years we will get carried away.

"You look at United's history all the way through from 1958. The club is steeped in tradition.

"We will enjoy the game against them as we had been out of the top flight for 30-odd years. To have an opportunity to bring United here is first class.

"We will show them respect but once whistle goes we will give it a go. You have always got a chance.

"United will be fully aware of what we can do and how much of an effect our supporters have on the game."

Stoke ran Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea close last month before losing to a late goal from Florent Malouda.

Pulis is looking for a change of luck and is eager to get his own back on United, who took the spoils at the ground on Boxing Day.

He said: "Chelsea played their strongest team against us and we gave them a good game. So we are hoping for the same against United.

"They are a team that has a special feel about it. Good sides still win games even when they are not playing well.

"We are now playing with a bit of form and while it is a great game it will be tough."

United lost two of their key players in the summer with Cristiano Ronaldo joining Real Madrid and Carlos Tevez opting to switch to Manchester City.

However, Pulis believes the longevity of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes is a double boost for manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Pulis said: "Clubs do not get over losing players like Ronaldo and Tevez quickly. It is very difficult whether you are Manchester United or Stoke to lose a player who has been scoring so freely and creating goals for his team-mates.

"The greatest thing for Alex is how well players like Scholes and Giggs are doing. It is pretty amazing they are not just still going but going strong as well.

"It is amazing. When Giggs finishes playing he will be seen as one of the greats of the game, I am sure."

Strikers Ricardo Fuller and James Beattie are both doubtful for the match.

Fuller suffered a groin problem in the Carling Cup victory over Blackpool while Beattie is struggling with a recurrence of an ankle injury.

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