stoke v fulham

Pulis wants more from his misfiring strikers

January 5, 2010

Stoke manager Tony Pulis wants his goal-shy players to start finding the net soon to halt their current slide.

Tony Pulis
GettyImagesTony Pulis: Divers should be banned for three games.

The Potters have scored just 15 times in 19 matches - the lowest return in the Premier League - and registered only two in the last six games - both of which came against Wigan nearly a month ago.

Having lost the last three league fixtures Pulis is keen to see improved performances at both ends of the pitch tonight against Fulham.

Ricardo Fuller scored only his third goal of the season in the FA Cup victory over York, while fellow striker James Beattie has just two - both coming in the same game - in 20 appearances.

"It was important (Fuller's goal),'' said Pulis. "But whether it was Ricardo or Beattie, you look at their goal return and it has not been what we expect. It is not through a lack of opportunity or chances we are creating - they would be the first ones to hold their hands up and are disappointed.

"You can't hide from the fact we need more goals. The performances have been good and we have created lots of chances. But if we are talking about Beattie, Dean Whitehead, Glenn Whelan, Ryan Shawcross, Abdoulaye Faye, Matt Etherington, Liam Lawrence or Rory Delap - we should be scoring more goals.

"I think we have been unfortunate, I don't think it is bad play.''

Pulis knows confidence is key for goalscorers and pointed to the fortunes of Fulham striker Bobby Zamora, who his side will need to keep quiet at the Britannia Stadium on Tuesday night, as a case in point.

Having endured a fair share of criticism during his time at Craven Cottage Zamora is now in a rich vein of form with 11 goals this season.

"Bobby Zamora went a year and a half at Fulham, taking a load of stick, and now he has started scoring goals people are talking about him playing for England,'' added Pulis. "He is playing with a lot more confidence than he was before and confidence is massive.

"Goalscorers live on goals, if they are scoring they want to play in every game.''

Pulis is also keen for the team to tighten up at the back, as they have not kept a clean sheet since November 28 at Blackburn.

"I think the disappointment for us has been we have given a lot of goals away this season from set-pieces,'' said the Potters boss. "That is something we have to work on and make sure we are solid on.''

Goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen expects to be fit after a finger injury forced him off at half-time against York, while defender Ryan Shawcross returns from suspension and fellow centre-back Abdoulaye Faye and midfielder Salif Diao are brought back having been rested.