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Rupert Wyman 30th Jan 2009 - 1:51

Pulis stokes the fire ahead of City match

Tony Pulis has put the boot in to foreign owners ahead of the visit of Abu Dhabi United-owned Manchester City to the Britannia Stadium at Saturday lunchtime.

Pulis' attack should not bother City's owners who have more than enough cash not to worry about criticisms from other clubs.

He said "Someone comes in from abroad and gives you loads of money but doesn't know what you're doing or what the structure of the club is."

Of course Pulis has a point about the lack of connection many owners no longer have with fans at their clubs and the damage some of them have done to the beautiful game by raising transfer fees and paying hugely-inflated wages - the knock-on effect is that the fee-paying fans who watch their teams week in week out now have to fork out a lot more to watch their team play.

The Stoke boss added "I wouldn't swap my chairman for anyone." However, as much as Pulis says he wouldn't swap his chairman for anyone there must be a small part of him that wished Stoke had bigger resources available to them so they could compete better, but then again with that comes pressure to play good football something Pulis would be unaccustomed to and in all likelihood he would find himself out of his depth if such circumstances arose.

Nevertheless with Stoke's limited resources Pulis has done a good job to get The Potters in the Premier League, let alone competing, well some weeks at least.

Stoke are yet to win a league match away from the Britannia Stadium this season and generally have been woeful on the road, performances at Chelsea and Liverpool apart.

On the other hand they have turned the Britannia in to a bit of a fortress, losing just three matches to Man Utd, Chelsea and Everton. Stoke have beaten both Arsenal and Aston Villa as well as drawing recently with Liverpool.

This combined with Man City's terrible away form this season (played ten, with just the one win) should point to a home win at odds of 11/5 especially as City look far too short at 5/4 but the draw looks to be the best bet at 23/10. As Stoke are in terrible form as they are without a win in 11 matches in all competitions.

In the reverse fixture at the City of Manchester Stadium, Man City ran out 3-0 winners with Robinho grabbing a hat-trick. But with the Brazilian star's well-documented recent troubles he is not likely to be on top form with his mind elsewhere.

Last time out on their travels City needed a late comeback to rescue a point against Blackburn and previous to that sunk to a demoralising defeat at the hands of bottom-of-the-table West Brom.

Mark Hughes has spent the money so far in the transfer window in a bid to improve City's fortunes, bringing in left-back Wayne Bridge, midfielder Nigel de Jong and striker Craig Bellamy. City are also pursuing other targets including Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given, but City's downfall has been the general lack of balance within the side rather than the personnel.

At times Hughes' side have been too gung-ho leaving themselves exposed when losing the ball.

It will take all of Stoke's defensive attributes to keep City's attackers out with the front-pairing of Robinho and Bellamy likely to be joined quickly in attack by Shaun Wright-Phillips and Stephen Ireland.

Top scorer Robinho is 5/1 to open scoring, 5/4 to grab a goal at anytime and 33/1 to repeat his hat-trick heroics. But just two of Robinho's 12 goals this season have come away from home and he looks to short this time around.

Welshman Craig Bellamy looks better value at 7/4 to score at anytime. The ex-West Ham striker is in good form having notched four goals for his former club since 14th December as well as scoring on his Man City debut against Newcastle in mid-week.

Stoke themselves have also added to their squad in January bringing in Bellamy's former West Ham team-mate left-winger Matthew Etherington and striker James Beattie from Sheffield United.

Stoke are hoping that Beattie will fire the goals to keep them in the Premier League. He opened his account last time out against Tottenham at White Hart Lane and looks good value at 2/1 to score his second for the club.

Be sure to join us for the 12:45 kick-off - when the action gets underway you'll still be able to get a bet on. Whatever happens in the match, our betlive service will have all the angles covered.

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