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May 19, 2013

Pulis hopeful of remaining at Stoke

Tony Pulis will hold talks with Stoke City's owners next week in an attempt to prolong his stay at the club into an eighth year.

• Pulis praises Crouch
• Jones apologises to Whelan

Pulis insists in the build-up to Sunday's game at Southampton that he is keen to remain in charge.

He is first thought to be seeking assurances, though, that he will continue to be backed in the transfer market and given a chance to quell the disapproval some supporters have aimed at him this season.

The issue is also clouded by speculation that Peter Coates might step down as chairman over the summer and be replaced by his son John..

But Pulis has repeatedly been supportive of the family as a whole and says: "I enjoy being a football manager. I said ten years ago when I sat down with the Icelandic consortium in the Waddington Suite that I was very proud to be manager of Stoke City and I'm still very proud to be Stoke City manager.

"It has always been a pleasure to work with Peter and I hope that continues. He's a genuinely good person. He wants me to concentrate on the game at Southampton and we will most probably meet for dinner next week.

"I don't know how many times we have heard that he is meant to be standing down but John is a smashing lad, who is very knowledgeable and understands the game."

Eyebrows were raised when Pulis missed this week's official Player of the Year awards night but he maintains he was on important club business in Spain.

And he says it is business as usual as Stoke aim for tenth place and what would be their highest Premier League finish.

"There has been no difference to what I have done by way of preparation (for the next season) than any other year," he added. "There will always be people who want more. I have no problems with that. But a lot of people will be very pleased that we're still Premier League and moving forward."

In this spring of farewells - most of them centred on Old Trafford legends - Pulis will ponder whether to give Michael Owen a cameo role at St Mary's as an emotional send-off before he retires.

The former England player has started only one game for the club and scored once, featuring just once at senior level in the last three and a half months.

"Michael has had a fantastic career," the manager said. "He has not played as many games here as he would have hoped and he will be disappointed about that.

"He has been very unfortunate with injuries. David Beckham, for example, has been much luckier. Let's see if we can get him ten minutes but it's very important we go there with the right frame of mind."

Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino, whose own future is in some doubt, was the man who brought Owen down to concede the penalty from which Beckham gave England victory over Argentina in the 2002 World Cup finals.

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