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I DON'T LIKE MONDAYS; STOKE V NEWCASTLE TONIGHT, KO 8PM.

Byline: JEREMY BUTLER

TONY PULIS has slammed Premier League bosses for shafting Stoke with the fixture schedule from hell.

With an energy-sapping trip to Israel for their Europa League clash with Hapoel Tel-Aviv this week, the last thing the Potters needed was a Monday night fixture.

Pulis is at a loss as to why his team were not given a Saturday match before having to make the 7,500-mile round trip to Israel.

And to rub salt into Stoke's wounds, they are away again next Sunday - at Bolton - just like they have been after every Europa League trip this season.

Pulis said: "It's difficult. We could have done without the game being on a Monday night. We could have done with it over the weekend but money talks for the powers-that-be who run football.

"This is a completely new and unique season for us in respect of playing Saturday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday... Monday!

"We've only had one game that kicked off at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon - that's out of 18 matches.

"So we have to manage people's expectations because there'll be periods when we're not going to do well, because of all sorts of reasons.

expect ther wh to or "You know what it's like, people expect you to win and keep winning."

Pulis has asked his medical team to come up with recovery programmes for his players which includes telling them when to sleep!

But, while he insists he can keep his players fresh physically, Pulis admits he won't know if they are mentally exhausted.

He said: "The only way we do it is on the Prozone stats. The mental thing is the difficult thing because they all want to play.

"They just want to play. I've not had one player coming to me and say that they're tired.

"Even when there's one coming up on the Thursday, they're all 'don't leave me out'.

"So we've given them a programme on different things we think they should be doing for rest and recovery, which we think is important.

"They have individual instructions on what to do, what not to do, especially after the flights. It'll be over five hours to Tel Aviv.''

STOKE Team news & line-ups Stoke's Jonathan Woodgate could start against his former club after playing 90 minutes in the Carling Cup in midweek. Jermaine Pennant might also be involved but striker Mamady Sidibe (knee) is facing another spell on the sidelines.

Newcastle's main doubt is Cheik Tiote who is struggling with a knee injury. If he misses out, Danny Guthrie will step in after impressing in midweek in the Carling Cup.

STOKE

Begovic, Shawcross, Upson, Woodgate, Whelan, Wilson, Delap, Whitehead, Walters, Etherington, Crouch

NEWCASTLE

Krul, Coloccini, Simpson, R Taylor, S Taylor, Cabaye, Gutierrez, Tiote, Obertan, Ba, Best

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 31, 2011
Words:469
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