Tony Pulis on why Middlesbrough v Stoke City will be 'special' for the Boro boss

Tony Pulis.
Tony Pulis.

Tony Pulis admits it is always a ‘special’ occasion when he faces old club Stoke City and he is anticipating a difficult afternoon.

Boro, who have won their last two games, host Stoke City at the Riverside Stadium on Good Friday (KO 3pm) aiming to leapfrog Bristol City into that final play-off spot.

City are in the driving seat with a game in hand heading into the final four games of the Championship campaign.

Derby County, a place and a point behind Boro, are also breathing down the necks of the Teessiders ahead of a nerve-shredding finale to the league campaign.

Pulis enjoyed one of his most successful spells in management in charge at Stoke City, ten years over two periods in charge, and he is looking forward to facing his former club.

“The important thing is concentrate on what we can do,” said Pulis, who has been under-fire from the Boro support in recent weeks.

“We've got four games left, the next game is the most important game, it's tough against one of my former clubs. I'm not concerned about Stoke at all.

"This one is special and I've got a lot of time for Peter Coates and the family there.

“He was a fantastic chairman for me at such a young age and he's such a special person and the football club is in really good hands with the way the family look after it - similar to how Steve does here."

Pulis added: “With good people in charge and stability, you've got a greater chance at success.

“It's a good club, things are in the right position and there's still things for us to improve on and that's very important.

“But I'm focused on the next four games coming up - and the next one is the most important one."