Faye cautions Stoke against complacency over relegation

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The Independent Football

Stoke City's captain, Abdoulaye Faye, believes they still have to work to do to retain their top-flight status, and believes it is vital the team bounce back at Burnley tonight following their weekend FA Cup defeat by Chelsea.

Although Stoke would appear to be safe with 34 points and 11 games remaining Faye is refusing to take anything for granted. He told the local newspaper the Sentinel: "We need to look forward and prepare for the next game against Burnley and be ready to play really well. The match is more important than Chelsea. We need to win these games to stay in the Premier League."

Faye says he is getting back to his best form after an indifferent season, in which he has been troubled by a back injury and sent off twice. The central defender completed his first full game for nearly two months at Stamford Bridge and is ready to kick on. He said: "It is a long time since I played 90 minutes because of injuries. But now I am fit and I am happy that I've played the full game. Last year I was never injured. That's just life, but I am getting better and better "

Stoke's manager, Tony Pulis, has a number of injury concerns going into the match, with Glenn Whelan the latest to need treatment for a hamstring problem. Matthew Etherington (knee), Danny Higginbotham (back) and James Beattie (knee) are all doubtful through injury. Salif Diao is sidelined with a calf strain while Ryan Shawcross remains suspended. Pulis is adamant he will not risk any player with a difficult home game to follow against Aston Villa on Saturday.

He said: "It is certainly going to test the strength of the squad because we do not want to rush the players back if they are not quite ready." Pulis added: "We've had a smashing season so far but we must not take our foot off the pedal."