Pulis backing for injured Sidibe
Tony Pulis has assured striker Mamady Sidibe that Stoke will stand by him as he faces up to another spell on the sidelines.
The 31-year-old has not played a first-team game since last August, when he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon. He then snapped the tendon again in training in February, and his latest comeback for the reserves ended with the Mali international suffering a knee injury, the extent of which is not yet known.
Pulis said: "He's had a scan but there's still a lot of blood there. If it is long term, Mama's contract's up at the end of the season but he doesn't have to worry, we'll look after him and his family. He's been a fantastic servant to the football club and if it takes him another 18 months to get fit, if it takes him another two years, this football club will stand by him."
The Potters boss, who signed the forward at the end of his first spell as manager in 2005, added: "I actually signed him and got the sack, and I keep telling him I got the sack because I signed him from Gillingham on a free transfer. So it's a great story for me and him. He's a great lad.
"He was really down and disappointed last time so he'll be doubly disappointed this time but he has nothing to worry about. The club don't break promises."
Pulis was speaking after Stoke exited the Carling Cup at the fourth-round stage as two Luis Suarez goals earned Liverpool a 2-1 victory at the Britannia Stadium.
The Uruguayan's first goal was a gem, with Suarez nutmegging Ryan Shotton before curling a 20-yard shot into the corner to level proceedings after Kenwyne Jones had given the hosts the lead.
Suarez then headed the winner five minutes from time, drawing glowing praised from both Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish and Pulis.
The Stoke manager said: "He was the difference. He did special things. The goals were absolutely fantastic. He's a handful, whether he's in possession or not, his movement is absolutely fantastic.
"I think we're very lucky in the Premier League. If you look at (Sergio) Aguero and (David) Silva at Manchester City, they're top players and this lad's exactly the same."