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Oct 26, 2012

Pulis wary of Fletcher threat

Tony Pulis hopes forcing his defenders to relive the horrendous mistakes made in last weekend's defeat at Old Trafford will help them stop the Sunderland striker he feels could be the bargain of the season.

Stoke manager Pulis forced his players to set through the entire 4-2 defeat against Manchester United this week in a DVD rerun which will not have made pleasant viewing for Ryan Shawcross and co, as all four of United's goals came from crosses.

Pulis has also been on the training ground all week in a bid to rid his players of the bad habits which led to another defeat against Sir Alex Ferguson's side and, unless the work has paid off, he is worried about the carnage Steven Fletcher could cause at the Britannia Stadium.

Pulis said: "We know we are going to have to defend a lot better than we did at Old Trafford. The lads were disappointed with the part they played in conceding those goals.

"We've had a good look at the video of that match and worked on the training ground at things this week. We have to work hard to make sure we do keep clean sheets.

Stoke find themselves up against Sunderland's £14 million record-signing Fletcher who thrives on similar service and who has scored five times already this season for Martin O'Neill's side.

"Sunderland paid a lot of money for Fletcher, but he's certainly given them a good return. He might prove to be one of the bargains of the season," said Pulis.

"He's good in the box, he's always on the move and he's thrived on the good service he gets from wide players who get crosses into the box. He had that at Wolves with (Michael) Kightly and (Matt) Jarvis, now it is (Adam) Johnson and (James) McClean, while (sebastian) Larsson is good from set-plays as well.

"But if we keep clean sheets, then we will win games. Look at the game at Old Trafford. If we'd kept a clean sheet, we'd have won the game."

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