Pulis hails 'unplayable' Crouch after latest double

Stoke manager delighted with summer signing as he scores 100th and 101st goals of league career

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The Independent Football

The Stoke manager Tony Pulis has praised Peter Crouch for his impact on and off the pitch after the striker scored both goals in Monday's 2-1 victory at Blackburn.

The 30-year-old's summer move from Tottenham was a sign of how far the Potters have come since their promotion to the Premier League in 2008 and he has repaid them with eight goals, on Monday registering his 100th league strike.

Crouch was one of a trio of players to join Stoke from Spurs in the summer along with Jonathan Woodgate and Wilson Palacios, and Pulis could not be happier with how they have settled in. The Welshman said: "Crouch has been fantastic. I thought him and Woodgate were very good [on Monday] and they've got great quality. It's not just what they do on the pitch, it's what they're like off the field as well. They've been absolutely fantastic.

"They've come to the football club as top players who have played for top clubs and their attitude towards the rest of the group has been fantastic. I'm so pleased Peter's not only got his 100th goal but his 101st as well."

Pulis declined to speculate on whether Crouch could make the England squad for this summer's European Championship but he certainly does not feel the striker's powers are waning."He's unplayable at times. If you stick the right quality in to him, he'll score goals. And he's as fit as a flea," added Pulis after Crouch battled through the Christmas programme despite illness.

"He's played the full game against Wigan, come here and played the full game and is defending balls in our box, up there winning balls in their box and absolutely brilliant. I think we might have caught him at the right time. He's the type of player who always wants to do well. He always seems very enthusiastic about being a footballer and that's a great commodity."

The result lifted Stoke to within one point of seventh-placed Newcastle as they made it 17 points from the last eight league games but, for Blackburn, it was another opportunity missed to climb out of the bottom three.

Manager Steve Kean was unhappy with referee Lee Mason's decision to disallow a Christopher Samba header early on, particularly given the treatment dished out to some of his players. He said: "There's certainly lots of times at set-play situations where there's contact. We feel as though a number of times we get penalties and decisions against Chris Samba because he's such a dominating figure.

"It's for the ref when there was so much going on in the box but the disallowed goal was a tough one, because I think it was a perfectly good goal."

It was a disappointing result for Rovers after their shock win over Manchester United last weekend and Kean will now turn his attention to trying to strengthen his squad in the January transfer window.

The Scot again denied he is being hampered by financial problems at the club and took heart from a slight improvement in his injury situation, with Gaël Givet making his first appearance after a minor heart operation.

"I've been told nothing about selling [players]," he added. "We're only going to try to add. I said at Old Trafford we would like to try to keep the squad intact and that's going to be the basis of how we're hopefully going to approach this window.

"What was encouraging was to get Givet back so quickly after his heart procedure. We rotated Ruben Rochina with David Dunn, we got David Goodwillie on, so we're trying to rotate round the lads that we've got and I really felt we were unlucky."