Stoke City Vs Sunderland, Sat 5 Feb 2011

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Stoke manager Tony Pulis has emphasised the importance of being able to freshen up his side when the Potters take on Sunderland in their third match in six days.

With Ryan Shawcross available after a two-match ban, Pulis may also call on midfielder Matthew Etherington and former Black Cats striker Kenwyne Jones, both of whom sat out the midweek defeat at Liverpool.

However, while the trio can reinvigorate the side, they must do without Ricardo Fuller - who has been given compassionate leave to attend his uncle's funeral in Jamaica following his death from a heart attack with the striker expected to return next Tuesday.

Pulis, though, acknowledges the value of being able to reintroduce rested players especially considering their opponents have not endured his side's demands over the past week - which has seen them travel to Wolves as well as Anfield.

He told the club's official website, "We're going to need those fresh legs because Sunderland have not only had an extra 24 hours to get themselves ready for this game, they also didn't have a game last weekend.


"That is why it is important we used the squad on Wednesday night.

"The likes of Matty Etherington and Kenwyne Jones had run their socks off on a heavy pitch against Wolves, so they will have benefited from the fact that they didn't feature in the game at Anfield."

Fuller is an integral part of the Potters side but Pulis is fully supportive of the striker's family priorities.

"It's a blow to lose Ric," he added. "But the family should always comes first in these situations and I am sure everyone understands that he needs to be there."

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is dreading the day another club makes him an offer he cannot refuse for England midfielder Jordan Henderson.

The 20-year-old has been linked with a move away from the Stadium of Light ever since emerging as one of the most promising talents in the country under Bruce last season.

The speculation has grown in intensity since he won his first senior international cap in November last year, despite a recent dip in form with injuries in the Black Cats squad piling the pressure on the local boy.

However, Bruce insists his immediate future remains at Sunderland rather than sitting on a bench packed with millionaires itching to play for one of English football's wealthier clubs.

Bruce lost star striker Darren Bent to Aston Villa last month and looked on in astonishment as Liverpool splashed out #35million on 22-year-old Newcastle striker Andy Carroll in a dramatic end to the transfer window.

He said: "I am not going to sit here like [Newcastle boss] Alan Pardew and say he [Henderson] is definitely not for sale and have it chronicled on February 5, 2011, 'He's not for sale, he's not for sale and I have got the owner's backing'.

"I have said all along that every player, whether you are [Cristiano] Ronaldo or you are Wayne Rooney, you have your price.

"As managers, we manage the team, of course we do, we have an input with the people who employ us, but we all know that it's part of football.

"For me, the great thing with Jordan is his father and Jordan himself are level-headed enough to realise and they understand that the worst thing that could happen to Jordan is he goes for big, huge money and he doesn't play for 18 months and sits on the bench.

"I can give you an example, Adam Johnson. He is injured at the moment, but he was playing sporadically.

"Jordan is sensible enough and I will stress to you again, he is from Sunderland and he understands. But there will be a time when he goes, unfortunately. But in the meantime, no."

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