Beattie ready to 'roll up his sleeves and fight' for Stoke

Former England striker delighted to be back in the Premier League
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The Independent Football

Tony Pulis, the Stoke City manager, is hoping James Beattie can provide the firepower to keep his side in the Premier League after finally getting his man. The 30-year-old striker has ended days of speculation by signing a two-and-a-half-year deal to complete his move from Sheffield United.

Beattie, who could cost as much as £3.5m, is Pulis' second January signing following Matthew Etherington's move from West Ham last week and will be charged with improving Stoke's goal-scoring record – which currently reads 18 in 21 games.

"James is a player who has an absolutely phenomenal goal-scoring record, and I am delighted to have him here," Pulis said. "He has averaged more than a goal every other game for Sheffield and he has a proven record of scoring in the top flight. He is someone I have admired for a very, very long time.

"We have signed two fantastic players in Matthew Etherington and James Beattie – but we are still looking for two or three more before the closure of the window."

Pulis will hope Beattie can rediscover the form and prolific scoring he demonstrated earlier in his career at Southampton, which earned him five England caps.

A £6m transfer to Everton in 2005 was less successful and he moved on to Sheffield United for £4m at the start of last season after failing to hold down a regular starting spot at Goodison Park.

In contrast, his record at Bramall Lane was terrific, the former Blackburn trainee hitting 34 goals in 65 appearances, including 12 this season, to earn himself a return to the Premier League.

Stoke's chief executive Tony Scholes said: "We are delighted to have fought off competition from other top-flight clubs to secure James' signature. He is a proven goalscorer with international and Premier League experience – and by signing a player like him, it shows how far this club has progressed."

Michael Tonge is backing Beattie to make an immediate impact, with the new boy looking certain to make his debut at Chelsea on Saturday.

He has linked up again with midfielder Tonge, a team-mate last season at Bramall Lane. Beattie scored 22 goals in that campaign for the Championship side.

"He is a very good player and a natural, old-fashioned target man. Beattie is really good in the air and has also scored more than 30 goals since the start of last season," Tonge said.

"He is a proven Premier League player and it is only in the last 18 months he has dropped down into the Championship. He has that work ethic, but also that extra ability you need. He can also score you goals out of nowhere."

Beattie is looking forward to the challenge at his new club. "I have been brought up to score goals and am ready to give the Premier League another crack," he said.

"Stoke have given me that opportunity and hopefully I can show the fans what I can do right away. I know the situation the club is in and I am prepared to roll up my sleeves and fight."

Kevin Blackwell, the Sheffield United manager, wished Beattie well. "It is a tremendous opportunity that has come along for James, and we are sure he will be an outstanding player for Stoke City," Blackwell said. "It has been terrific working with him and everyone at Bramall Lane wishes him all the best."

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