Stoke manager Tony Pulis finds it amazing that West Ham have struggled this season and knows only too well the threat they will pose to his team in tomorrow’s FA Cup quarter-final at the Britannia Stadium.
The Hammers have been mired in the Premier League relegation zone for most of the campaign but are unbeaten in four games in all competitions and have won their last three. The latest of those victories was a 3-0 triumph in the league against the Potters last weekend at Upton Park.
That has left Pulis under no illusions about the task facing his side as Stoke look to improve on last year’s FA Cup run by booking a place in the last four of the competition for the first time since 1972.
“It’s a great opportunity for the football club,” Pulis said. “To reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup two years running is a fantastic achievement and we are hoping we will go one better than we did last year.
“We got beat at West Ham on Saturday and well beaten in the end, so it will be a difficult game.
“You look at their team and the players they have got – Robert Green, who has played for England, and Wayne Bridge and Matthew Upson in the back four who have done as well.
“You’ve got Scott Parker and Carlton Cole who are England internationals, then Thomas Hitzlsperger and the three forwards.
“It is amazing that West Ham have not done better than they have done, but they have just hit form at the right time, so we know it will be a tough game for us.”
West Ham have allowed Kieron Dyer to return to his first club Ipswich on loan but manager Avram Grant says the midfielder could play again for West Ham this season if he proves his fitness at Ipswich.