Stoke manager Tony Pulis is looking for his team to lift his spirits against Fulham on Saturday at Craven Cottage before he runs the London Marathon the following day.

Pulis has taken time off from trying to keep Stoke in the Barclays Premier League to prepare for the big race. But a victory against Blackburn at the weekend all but secured their top-flight status for a second successive season, but Pulis is refusing to take his foot off the pedal - both on and off the pitch.

"I know I will get around the course a little bit easier if we have a good day on Saturday," said the 51-year-old. "I am struggling with training. It is really hitting me after about 15 miles but I will dig in and give it everything I have got and make sure I get there."

He added: "I am not looking at a specific time. I just want to make sure I get round the course and take a good amount of money to a superb charity."

Melanie Mills of the Stoke-based Donna Louise Childrens' Hospice said: "We are really grateful to Tony. With the pressures of managing a Premier League team I have no idea where he is finding the time to train.

"But he is that committed to helping the children and families we support, that I don't think anything can get in his way.

"The club have been supporting the charity for the past two seasons and players, staff and management alike have been involved.

"The players visit the children and families at the hospice as often as they can and many are involved in fundraising."

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