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Apr 3, 2013

Pulis has sights on 40 points

Tony Pulis feels Stoke City still require six points to be certain of avoiding relegation from the Premier League.

• Blog: An Ode to Coloccini
• Blog: Can't score for toffee

Stoke are just four points ahead of 18th-placed Aston Villa going into their crucial meeting at the Britannia Stadium this weekend in what is being billed as the club's most important fixture of the season.

Pulis is desperate to extend Stoke's stay in the top flight for a sixth season and feels the fact that four of their remaining seven games are at home will be a crucial advantage, despite the difficult atmosphere in recent weeks.

"We've got seven games to go and we want six points to begin with, whether that's two wins or a win and three draws," Pulis said.

"Then once you are on 40 points you take another look at the situation. I know results haven't been what any of us want, but you cannot fault the effort of the players. I think performances have been better than many are giving us credit for."

Traditionally the Britannia has been the rock upon which Stoke's Premier League membership has been built and they have only lost twice in front of their own fans this season, but home supporters are growing increasingly restless and frustrated with the Welshman.

Stoke are the lowest scorers in the Premier League with 27 goals from their 31 league outings and Pulis has been forced to take the brunt of the criticism for that poor return.

Whatever their opinion of him, Pulis is urging fans to unite and avoid damaging team confidence and morale. He added: "I think all four of our remaining home games are big.

"We are desperate for as many points as we can and our home is traditionally where we have got most of them over the years. We have only lost twice there this season, so it has been a great fortress for us again, but it's only been a fortress because of what we have made of it.

"Our supporters have made the Britannia the place it is and I know they will carry on doing that because they love their club so much. What they think of me does not matter now, it's what they think of their team that counts.

"The fans at Everton on Saturday showed that by giving them a standing ovation at the end, even though we'd lost. They appreciated the efforts of the players. It was a commitment that said everything about their spirit."

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