Belfast Telegraph

West Brom boss Tony Pulis fears Peter Crouch more than Saido Berahino

West Brom boss Tony Pulis fears the impact of Stoke forward Peter Crouch more than Saido Berahino, who returns to the Hawthorns on Saturday.

Striker Berahino is set to face his former club just two weeks after leaving following revelations on Friday he was suspended for eight weeks between October and December.

The Daily Mail has reported Berahino tested positive for a recreational drug during his time at West Brom while Stoke and the Baggies have confirmed the suspension, although have not said what it was for.

Berahino could form Stoke's strikeforce with Crouch having moved to the Potters from Albion for an initial £12million last month.

Pulis signed Crouch for £12million from Tottenham in 2011 and the 36-year-old scored his 100th Premier League goal in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Everton.

He said: "I fear Crouchy a lot more than Saido. Peter is a fantastic player. I signed him six years ago and it was a lot of money at the time for a 30-year-old and there were one or two people in the club at the time thought it wasn't a good deal.

"But I remember speaking to Peter Coates saying I can understand people saying 'we're not going to get a return on our investment in terms of a transfer fee back but what you'll do is guarantee Premier League football with Crouchy'.

"This year he has signed another contract and he's scored his 100th goal. He's a good player, a good lad, good on and off the pitch. I was frightened he was going to get his 100th goal at West Brom so I was really pleased he got it the other night."

Salomon Rondon will lead the Baggies' line after Pulis confirmed Albion had rejected a £32million bid from Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian.

He said: "There's been an offer from China but I think the Chinese have made an offer for every centre-forward with two legs and who's running around in English football.

"We understand and accept that's going to happen. If he left that would leave us with just one striker and I don't think we'll be doing that."

Pulis is without Jonny Evans against Stoke as the defender continues to nurse a calf problem and has "one or two" doubts over unnamed players.

"Every week I'm thinking the next week (that Evans will return), I'm hoping for West Ham the following week," he added.

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