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Tuesday, April 16, 2013
ESPNsoccernet: April 18, 12:20 PM UK
Coates hopes Stoke season is for turning

Ian Edwards

Tony Pulis and his relegation-threatened players are taking an innovative approach to their crucial encounter with fellow strugglers Queens Park Rangers this weekend with a visit to the Houses of Parliament.

Pulis, his squad and chairman Peter Coates were being treated to a guided tour and lunch as part of the club's 150th birthday celebrations, hoping for some inspiration ahead of the five remaining games of the season which will decide whether they retain their Premier League status for a sixth successive season.

Two days after defeat to Manchester United left them deep in relegation trouble Coates is hoping the break from routine - together with the hallowed environment  will have a positive effect on Stoke's bid for survival.

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"It was arranged some time ago. I don't see it as a problem because it makes a change for the players. It's been a long season and they don't need more training. Hopefully, the change of scene will be good for them," said Coates.

"Maybe they will be inspired by the likes of Winston Churchill and his famous quote, 'We shall never surrender'. The message at Stoke as far as we are concerned is a pretty simple one and that is everybody must stick together between now and the end of the season. That gives us our best chance."

Stoke are just three points above third bottom Wigan, but having played two games more than Roberto Martinez's FA Cup finalists, after taking a woeful five points from a possible 42.

The Potters head to Loftus Road on Saturday after losing their last six leagues games on the road, but despite the terrible statistics since the turn of the year, defender Andy Wilkinson insists the club are good enough to climb away from danger.

"We aren't in the best position at the moment, but our fate is certainly in our own hands, and whilst that is the case we have to remain confident," he said. "We have five huge games in front of us now, five FA Cup Finals if you like, and we have to get enough points from them to finish above the bottom three.

"There is no doubt about it we have the players here good enough to get us out of this position, but we have to start getting the results quickly because games are running out.

"We just need to all stick together, and grind out the results and points that we need. Our fans were incredible again on Saturday, and we will need that over the next few weeks more than ever."

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