Stoke manager Tony Pulis has hailed Dimitar Berbatov as the "outstanding" buy of the season as he plots a way of shackling the in-form Fulham striker in Saturday's clash at the Britannia Stadium.
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Five goals in Berbatov's last eight appearances, including a brace in the 3-3 draw at Arsenal a fortnight ago, has alerted Pulis to the possible damage that the forward could inflict on his side this weekend.
The Bulgarian star scored against Stoke last winter and also netted twice more at their expense during his four-year stay at Manchester United, one of them at the Britannia Stadium, so Pulis is on his guard.
"Berbatov has been the outstanding buy for me and is playing at the top of his game," he said. "In the games I've watched, he has been absolutely outstanding. He looks like he's really enjoying himself and has found a home where he's the main player.
"He's showing the class he possesses. It will be worth the admission just to see him play. You have to say he's one of the best players in the Premier League on form. He can win games on his own and has been a great signing for Martin Jol.
"It's his touch and his movement, and he sees a pass. He's first-class. He's the player for me that glues everything together and makes them tick."
Stoke were linked with a possible move for Berbatov in the summer but Pulis believes the attraction of London means they would have had little success in signing the player.
While Pulis' side have beaten Queens Park Rangers and drawn at West Ham in their last two games, Fulham head to Staffordshire seeking an instant response to losing at home to Sunderland last weekend.