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Pulis: Cup win would aid Stoke confidence for run-in

Stoke boss Tony Pulis believes his team will get much more besides a trip to Wembley out of a win over West Ham tomorrow.

The Potters will play at the English national stadium for the first time if they defeat the Hammers to book a place in the FA Cup semi-finals.

It is an exciting prospect for the Staffordshire outfit, who have not reached the last four of the competition for 39 years.

However, Pulis is also mindful of what a victory could mean for Stoke's fortunes over the next few weeks in the Premier League, where they have taken just one point from their past four games.

He said: "It would be wonderful if we get through to the semi-finals, but because of the way the season has gone for us recently, it is a big, big game in other respects.

"The Premier League remains the priority and a win on Sunday would be a massive boost to our confidence going into the important matches that are coming up."



Relegation

As well as the tie at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke have nine league fixtures left to play and are only three points above the relegation zone.

West Ham have been near or at the bottom of the table for most of the campaign, but are unbeaten in four games in all competitions and have won their last three games.

The latest of those was a 3-0 league win against Stoke last weekend at Upton Park, a match which left Pulis under no illusions about the task facing his side tomorrow.

"We got beaten at West Ham on Saturday and well beaten in the end," Pulis said. "It is amazing West Ham have not done better than they have done, but they have just hit form at the right time, so we know it will be a tough game for us."

Goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen will play in goal for Stoke while Matthew Etherington appears to be fully recovered from his back problems. However, fellow winger Jermaine Pennant will be assessed ahead of the game.