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Etherington facing race against time

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 28 Apr 2011

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Tony Pulis is desperate to get Matthew Etherington back for Stoke City’s FA Cup Final on May 14.

A scan showed Etherington has suffered a tear in his left hamstring after being carried off during Stoke’s 3-0 midweek victory over Wolves and the former Tottenham man will definitely be missing for Saturday’s trip to Blackpool.

“We will give Matthew every chance of getting fit for the final, even if that means him having a fitness test at Wembley,” Pulis said.

“But the next seven days are crucial, so we will have a better view then. We will certainly pull out all the stops in an attempt to get him right.”

“He is such an important player to us and it goes without saying that it would be a massive blow if he wasn’t fit, especially after losing Ricardo Fuller and Danny Higginbotham as well over the past few weeks.”

Stoke have struggled on the road in 2011 – picking up just one point in eight games.

They could have done with the firepower of Fuller, but he has undergone surgery on the ruptured Achilles tendon he sustained against Aston Villa last weekend.

“Ricardo had the operation on Wednesday which went as well as could be expected and he’ll be out for three to four months,” Pulis said.

Pulis was disgusted at gamesmanship he witnessed in Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and Barcelona and he warned that unsporting behaviour is also a part of the English game.

“The attitude was a disgrace but nobody will talk about it,” Pulis said.

“They will talk about challenges sometimes and being over competitive but you won’t hear them talking about players rolling around.”

“That German referee was put under so much pressure it was frightening.”

“You’re getting fellow professionals trying to con referees to get other fellow professionals sent off.”

“Someone has to stand up and say something about it because it’s happening in this country as well and it’s wrong.”

“It’s a competitive game but it’s about football. We’ll be competitive, but we’ll be honest, and there’s a difference.”

“Wednesday night was tantamount to trying to cheat referees into making bad decisions and that should not happen.”

Stoke will also be without midfielder Amdy Faye (hamstring) and forward Mamady Sidibe (Achilles tendon).

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