Pulis keeps eye on prize as switches pay off


Stoke 2 Reading 1:Tony Pulis had a very successful transfer window. Not so much because of the players he bought in to Stoke City – although the £5 million that secured the young goalkeeper Jack Butland from Birmingham City might prove to be money very well spent – but because of those who stayed.

That much was evident when, after an hour’s stultifying football, the exasperated Stoke manager sent on the strikers Cameron Jerome and Kenwyne Jones. Neither are regular starters and both were the subject of interest from other clubs in January but both remained and their introduction won Stoke this game.

Jerome’s in particular. His control, turn and beautifully struck angled volley to score Stoke’s second after Robert Huth had headed them into the lead was spectacular. Though Reading set about staging their customary comeback, and Adrian Mariappa scored with a header, this time they had just too much to do.

Asked how important it had been for Stoke to hang on to Jerome, Jones and Peter Crouch, who was linked to Harry Redknapp’s Queens Park Rangers, Pulis pointed to the jaw-dropping shower of gold that the new TV deals mean will fall on Premier League clubs next season. “It’s £90 million, I think, and for the club not to get that, to miss out on that would kill me, really,” he said. With 12 games remaining Stoke have 33 points and lie 10th: “We’re in a good position,” said Pulis.

Reading are back in the relegation zone. “We have got 14 points from eight games and, if you can do that, you are not too bad,” manager Brain McDermott said. “We will just have to keep fighting.”

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