Tony Pulis still working to capture David James for Stoke City
Stoke boss Tony Pulis will be striving to complete the loan signing of David James this week so the England goalkeeper can face his old club Manchester City in the FA Cup fifth round.
Stoke have been given an away tie against the Eastlands club in the next round, having produced a memorable home fourth-round victory over Arsenal yesterday.
After the match Pulis made it clear that the deal to take James from Portsmouth was still on, saying: "We are still working on it, it has taken longer than I expected."
James was withdrawn from Pompey's cup win over Sunderland on Saturday to avoid him being cup-tied having also missed the two games against Coventry in the previous round.
The 39-year-old, who played almost 100 games for City between 2004-06, could well be facing his former side on February 13/14.
Should James complete his move north, further questions would no doubt be asked about the future of current Stoke number one Thomas Sorensen.
Sorensen's was linked with clubs abroad in recent days, although the Dane has distanced himself from claims he was joining Bayern Munich.
Sorensen has made some costly errors of late and could arguably have done better for Arsenal's goal from a deflected Denilson strike in Stoke's 3-1 victory yesterday.
Pulis said: "I've had a good chat with him and he understands the situation.
"The important thing is that we bring in competition to push everyone, Thomas included."
It seems highly unlikely that James will be signed to sit on the bench with a World Cup coming up, and Sorensen would not be happy on the bench either with Denmark also competing in South Africa.
Pulis wants both at the club, though, saying: "I believe we are one of the few Premier League clubs with only two goalkeepers (in their first-team squad) and we need cover with three keepers.
"Thomas would be first to hold his hands up and say everybody needs competition. Thomas has made a couple of mistakes which get highlighted more as a goalkeeper, but he's been a fantastic signing for us."
Pulis is aiming to add further to his squad in the final week of the transfer window.
"We are working on a couple of things, but they will only happen if they are right for this club," he said.
Pulis will clearly be disappointed to have been drawn away in the next round, Stoke having shown in the victory over Arsenal that they are capable of beating the best at the Britannia stadium.
Stoke lost 2-0 at Eastlands in December, and their only away wins this season have been at Orient in the Carling Cup, and at Tottenham in October.
Pulis will need a performance to match that at White Hart Lane to see Stoke into the quarter-finals.
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