Pulis confident over cup tie
Tony Pulis has no doubts Stoke will secure a place in the FA Cup fourth round if his side stand firm in the face of an expected Cardiff onslaught.
The City boss is naturally disappointed to be heading to the Welsh capital for a third-round replay, believing his players should have clinched a place in the last 32 nine days ago, only to be held to a 1-1 draw.
The additional road trip is far from welcome either as the visit to Cardiff begins a run that sees them play five of the next six games away from the Britannia Stadium. That could become six from seven should Stoke win as they will travel to either Wolves or Doncaster in the next round, all in the space of 36 days.
So it is a case of ploughing on and Pulis said: "I'm absolutely gutted the result wasn't achieved in the first game for everyone's sake because we have such a busy programme coming up again. It is crazy the way the fixtures have been drawn as we only have two games in March. It is ridiculous, but there we are.''
Knowing his side only have themselves to blame for not finishing off Cardiff on home soil, Pulis added: "I thought there was only one team in the first game to be honest. I thought they did well in the first half, then in the second half I felt it was just a matter of time before we would pull away, but it wasn't to be.
"We hit the bar twice, had numerous other chances, and I cannot really recall them causing us too many problems at all after they scored early on. Now we face a tough game because I'm sure they will put out a strong team, they will have the full backing of their supporters and they will throw everything at us.
"That is what happens in the FA Cup. They will believe they have done the hard work by taking us back to their place. It means we will have to stand firm and play our normal game. If we do that I believe we will get the result we want and secure ourselves a spot in the next round.''
Despite the trip to Cardiff and a potential visit to Molineux or the Keepmoat Stadium looming later this month, Pulis is eager for his side to at least emulate their run to the quarter finals from last year.
"It will be lovely to get through whether it is (Wolves manager) Mick McCarthy or (Doncaster boss) Sean O'Driscoll. I know the two of them very well,'' Pulis said. "We got to the quarter finals last year and we obviously want to do well again this season.''
Striker Ricardo Fuller comes back into contention after missing Saturday's 2-0 win over Bolton due to a family bereavement. Eidur Gudjohnsen remains doubtful with a neck injury, while fellow forward Mamady Sidibe remains sidelined as he continues to recover from an Achilles problem.