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Pulis hails "resilient" Fletcher

Published 01/05/2015

Tony Pulis takes West Brom to Old Trafford on Saturday
Tony Pulis takes West Brom to Old Trafford on Saturday

Tony Pulis backed Darren Fletcher for management and insisted the Scot has been a catalyst for West Brom's survival bid.

The midfielder will make his first return to Manchester United since leaving in January when he skippers Albion at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Head coach Pulis spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson before signing the 31-year-old on a free transfer and he has since helped lift the Baggies seven points above the Barclays Premier League drop zone.

He was handed the armband immediately after moving to The Hawthorns and Pulis believes Fletcher's leadership will continue after he retires.

He said: "I've taken a couple of players off Sir Alex, stamped with his mark. One is captain at Stoke (Ryan Shawcross), a wonderful person who has had great career there. He was 19 when we took him but had great authority, discipline and character.

"Darren's at the back end of his career but is in the same mould in lots of respects. Strong character, resilient, forthright, one day hopefully Darren is one of those who will go into coaching, he has the right genes to be a good coach and manager. They don't have to because they have enough money."

Fletcher made 340 appearances for United - winning the title four times and the Champions League in 2008 - but Pulis wants him to focus on Albion's survival bid when he returns.

He said: "You don't want him to get too wrapped up in the occasion, you want him to concentrate on the 90 minutes. He had a great time there, as an apprentice right the way through, who has seen the club in its pomp."

And he believes the Scotland international has been a key player with Albion on the brink of survival.

"I think that's one of the reasons," he said.

"He's been fantastic here, not just on the pitch but off - training ground, the dressing room. It's great credit to the system at Manchester United, the way they brought their young players up. They've done it the right way.

"He has a good manner about him, he communicates well with other players. They respect him for where he's come from and what he's achieved in the game."

Pulis is sweating on several injured players and remained tight-lipped on which ones he could be missing but Youssouf Mulumbu is back after a ban.

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