Stoke boss Tony Pulis is relishing his goalkeeping conundrum after the return to full fitness of Thomas Sorensen for the tail-end of the festive programme.
Sorensen sat on the bench for the Boxing Day trip to Ewood Park where another clean sheet by Asmir Begovic further cemented the Bosnian's claim to the jersey. But Pulis has urged Sorensen to keep pushing for a return to the first team and says he will get his chance if and when his former understudy's form begins to dip.
"Thomas is disappointed he is not in the team but he lost his place because of injury and Asmir has come in and looked very good," said Pulis. "Thomas will have to be patient and then if Asmir either drops form or gets injured it is up to Thomas to get into the team and play as well as he can. You want that competition."
Pulis' men headed home on a high after their fine performance against Blackburn, with Begovic rarely troubled and goals from Robert Huth and Marc Wilson securing an easy win.
The only slight negative for Pulis was Matthew Etherington's substitution after 75 minutes with an apparent ankle knock which will require a fitness test ahead of the clash with Fulham.
Despite the pressure building on Cottagers boss Mark Hughes after his side's dismal Boxing Day defeat to West Ham, Pulis expects a tough test at the Britannia Stadium.
Pulis said: "We had a good result against Fulham in the League Cup but that will mean nothing because this is a totally different game and they are fighting for league points.
"They will come and give us a real run for their money. They are, along with Everton, the team that has under-achieved most in the first half of the season.
"They will be looking for a stronger second half of the season and looking at the players they have, it would not be a surprise to see that happen.
"Every game in the Premier League is a tight game, especially for the likes of us, and we will respect Fulham just like we respect every team."
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