Business as usual at the Britannia

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Stoke assistant manager Dave Kemp insists it is business as usual at the club despite a difficult week which began with the death of boss Tony Pulis' mother.

Pulis watched the first half of Stoke's victory over Aston Villa on Monday from the stands having arrived late after spending the day with family in Newport following the bereavement. However, he took his place on the touchline to help inspire the come-from-behind 2-1 win and he has been at the club's Clayton Wood training ground every day since.

"He is working as normal. He's been in every day since Monday and he will be here today (Thursday), tomorrow and Saturday," said Kemp. "Monday was a bit of a strain all round but the players coped with it very well and got three points against Villa. Now we are all geared up for Saturday (when they host West Ham) and we are working towards another three points."

Pulis has cut back on some of his activities, including his weekly press conference, but otherwise he is fully focused on preparing the side to face West Ham.

"That is the nature of the beast, that is what we do," added Kemp. "He had a difficult day on Monday but he managed to get to the game and his instincts kicked in and he wanted to be involved.

"As manager of the football club it was important he did."

It is not the first time Kemp has been asked to shoulder the burden of extra responsibility as assistant manager.

"When I was at Wimbledon Joe Kinnear was taken ill and I got put in the position there so you have to be prepared for it," he said.

"Normally you are in the background, and that is where you should be, but in this instance you have to step in."

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