Belfast Telegraph

Pulis backs Magpies for top four

Stoke boss Tony Pulis feels it would be good for the Barclays Premier League if Newcastle managed to secure a top-four finish this season.

The Magpies are currently lying fifth, level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham with five games to go, and well in contention for a Champions League berth.

The Tyneside outfit - only promoted back to the English top flight just under two years ago - last featured in the Champions League when they were eliminated in the qualifying rounds in 2003, but Pulis, whose team play at Newcastle on Saturday, said: "I think it would be lovely for the Premier League to have someone new and fresh getting in there."

Though he cautioned: "I'm sure the rest of the teams up there will have something to say about that as well.

"Alan (Pardew, Newcastle manager) has done a fantastic job but this is the business end of the season now when they have to push forward and push on.

"As with the top two teams (City and league leaders Manchester United), who have got the bit between their teeth - it is who gets their noses over the line first.

"It is great for us as a football nation if you get a team outside what is supposed to be the top six group getting into it and working hard to try to stay there."

Meanwhile, Pulis has confirmed Stoke are looking to reach agreement with defender Robert Huth over a new deal.

Huth, who is out of contract at the end of next season, has been linked with a move back to his native Germany this summer but Pulis is hopeful he can retain the 27-year-old's services.

"Huthy has a year left, so there is no immediate rush with him," Pulis said. "But the club is keen to get something done and so is Robert. So fingers crossed something can be ironed out."

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