Pulis looks to add craft to Potters

Manager prepares ground as Stoke rebuild squad and stadium over summer
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The Independent Online

Stoke City's manager Tony Pulis plans major changes at the Potteries club to ensure they become established in the Premier League.

Pulis, who received special mention along with Everton's David Moyes when the Barclays Manager of the Season award was handed to Sir Alex Ferguson last week, believes that survival is just the beginning for the Britannia Stadium club.

Stoke will start rebuilding their training ground this summer, and Pulis aims to make major reforms to the scouting system at home and abroad. He maintains that Stoke will have to stay up for three years before they can start to believe they are really part of the establishment.

Pulis, whose side finished 11 points clear of the relegation places, said: "Work starts on improving the training ground next month, and that has to be done. I tend not to bring prospective new players to the training ground before they sign, I just take them to the Britannia instead. We have to improve our scouting network. We have to understand where we are compared to the rest of the Premier League. We are not on the top shelf or the second. We have to be clever and cute to get to players before others spot them.

But that only happens in time and there are a lot of things I want to put into place that will improve the club over 10 years. We need good direction to be in place to see players before anyone else. We have pushed on remarkably, but when you are competing against what we are facing in this division then they are all in front of us. We must start making up that ground. As a club we have moved on tremendously over the past two years, winning promotion and staying in the Premier League. But we need time, three more years for sure, to put into operation all the things other clubs already have."

Pulis could have more than £20m to spend this summer, and already has a list of possible signings. But having cash and persuading top players to take the risk of moving to a club who could be in a relegation battle are two very different things, meaning Pulis must cast his scouting net as wide as possible.

"People are looking all over South America now. You can take a chance on all sorts and it can cost you a lot of money, but we need to work hard on certain things," he said.

"It has been a fantastic achievement to stay in the Premier League but we must be here three years for this club to really grow. The next two seasons will still be a battle for us. But after three years, with the finance that is coming in and the impression you make in the football world, people will want to come to us rather than us trying to convince players to come here.

"You have to grow as a club, evolution not revolution. We have spirit, fitness and organisation. But we need more than that to go forward.

"We have to look at the foreign market, but clubs are miles in front of us who have been doing this for years. We have not had the necessity to do that. You can get a club out of the Championship with British players, but once you are in the Premier League it is different."

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