O’Neill linked with Stoke City as Pulis fails to dampen talk of summer exit

Tony Pulis has failed to dampen speculation he could leave Stoke City this summer.

The 55-year-old is in his second spell as manager of the Britannia Stadium club, having initially led them from 2002 to 2005. After rejoining them in the summer of 2006, he narrowly missed out on a playoff spot during his first full season before then clinching promotion to the Premier League on the final day of the 2007-08 campaign.

Stoke have gone on to establish themselves as a steady top-flight outfit, but they have endured a difficult season this time round. A torrid run of 10 defeats in 13 matches saw the Potters slide well and truly into the relegation mix, but their 2-0 win at Queens Park Rangers last weekend brought them breathing space. And they followed this up with a 1-0 home success over Norwich City on Saturday, lifting them to the brink of safety.

Even if, as now looks likely, Stoke are still in the Premier League next season, it has been reported that chairman Peter Coates may look to replace Pulis in the summer. Indeed, the Daily Star on Sunday claim a move for Martin O’Neill, who was shown the door at Sunderland last month, could be in line to replace the Welshman.

But speaking after the 1-0 win over the Canaries, Pulis refused to offer much indication of what could be in store for him and his club in the coming weeks.

“I’ve had seven or eight years with Peter [Coates] and the family,” he told Sky Sports. “They’ve been wonderful people and very supportive. It’s been a pleasure working for them and I’m just so pleased we’ve got the win for them, as much as anything else.”

Stoke are now in 12th position and on 40 points, with a better goal difference than those who are still capable of dragging them into a relegation dogfight. Pulis, though, will now have his sights set on a top-half finish, as they are just two points adrift of West Ham United in 10th place.


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