Belfast Telegraph

Pulis: WBA my toughest challenge

New head coach Tony Pulis insists the West Brom job is his toughest challenge yet.

The former Stoke boss has taken control at The Hawthorns after signing a two-and-a-half year deal.

He has been out of work since leaving Crystal Palace in August after saving them from relegation last term.

Pulis took over at Selhurst Park in November 2013 when Palace were second bottom of the Barclays Premier League with seven points from 12 games.

The Eagles had been written off but he guided them to 11th before leaving after a disagreement over transfer policy.

Pulis replaced the sacked Alan Irvine on Thursday and Albion are 17th in the table, a point above the drop zone, and he underlined the difficulty of the job.

"This is the shortest period of time I've had at any football club to turn results around. That's why I think it will be as difficult, if not more difficult, than Palace," said Pulis, ahead of his first game in charge against Gateshead in the FA Cup on Saturday.

"I knew exactly where we were at Palace after two months. I hope we can get that instant reaction and go on to win games but it will be really tough.

"If you look at the bottom 12 it's never been tighter. You look at what Burnley, Leicester and QPR have done. They've had good results and will be fighting right through to the end.

"We worked in a certain way at Stoke and it worked well. Going to Palace was completely different, we had certain strengths and this is a different group. We have to find a different way of winning. It will take me another two weeks to find out about the DNA in the group."

Pulis wants to add to his squad in the transfer window but could grant the sale of Saido Berahino after technical director Terry Burton left the door open for the nine-goal striker's exit.

Liverpool have been linked with a move but Press Association Sport understands the Baggies have not been in talks with the Anfield club.

"He tries to win football matches and if he needs to sell somebody to do something else he will sell them," said Burton, who confirmed Albion have put contract negotiations with Berahino on hold.

"He will do whatever is best to get results for the club and that could involve any aspect of the policy. Whatever he wants we will work our hardest to make happen. Tony is in total charge."

But Burton insisted Albion would not sell the England Under-21 international for less than £20million.

"I don't think he (Pulis) would take that small amount of money," he said.

"He is worth what some club would pay for him. If a club want a player bad enough and they are top quality players and if they have the finances they try and do that."

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