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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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Pulis searching for success with Stoke

Tony Pulis insists he harbours no realistic ambitions of landing a top-four job and has the drive to plan instead for another decade at Stoke City.

• Crouch confident for United clash

At the start of a weekend in which he has to find a way to deny Wayne Rooney a happy tenth anniversary as a Premier League star, the Stoke manager is in the mood for looking forward at new targets as well as back.

"I have been here nearly ten years over two spells and still have the desire and hunger to push this club on," he said. "I still wake up every morning trying to get things moving and working, and to improve over the next ten years.

"There aren't many other clubs I would want to go to. I don't think I could be happier and understand how lucky I am."

Pulis, who has previously spoken of an interest in one day managing Wales, is perceived to be good mates with Sir Alex Ferguson, although the relationship hasn't directly benefited the Potters beyond the signing of Ryan Shawcross from Old Trafford.

Stoke have taken only one Premier League point off United in eight attempts and Pulis concedes it will be a difficult trip for his side.

"I'm not close with Sir Alex but I know he will be recognised as the greatest manager this country has seen," he added. "And he's still going strong. God knows when he is going to put his slippers on and light his pipe.

"It's not a level playing field when we play the top six or seven. But we have managed to avoid being beaten by Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool this season and now we have this really tough test tomorrow.

"It has taken United a while to get settled down but they look like they are clicking into gear, and he normally plays his full team against us.

"They are on a different planet really but we have to go there and enjoy it. We have shown we can give everybody a game and we go there in a positive frame of mind."

Pulis is considering recalling Andy Wilkinson after the completion of the defender's three-match suspension, especially as recent stand-in right-back Geoff Cameron has been away with the United States squad in the last fortnight.

Michael Owen, who was frustrated when a groin problem sidelined him at Liverpool 12 days ago, is back in the running to face another of his former clubs, although he is not under consideration for a starting role.

Midfielder Glenn Whelan will undergo a late fitness test on a hamstring injury.

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