Pulis keen to ease Sidibe concerns
Stoke manager Tony Pulis has urged Mamady Sidibe not to worry as the striker attempts to overcome yet another major injury.
Sidibe, who has not played for Stoke's first team since August 2010 after twice rupturing an Achilles tendon, suffered fresh injury heartache when he damaged a knee tendon in a reserve game on Wednesday. The 31-year-old is now set for a fourth knee surgery in three years amid fears that he may never play again.
Pulis has moved to assure the Mali international that he will be "looked after" by the club with his contract due to expire at the end of the season, but revealed Sidibe is understandably very downbeat. On the club's website, www.stokecityfc.com, Pulis said: "He's very down in himself."
He added: "His mum's over at the moment and it's not been a very good week for the family. He's worked very, very hard to get back again, it's been a long road when the injury is that severe and it's been several times.
"For him to have done it three or four times, it sets him back so far. But I've had a chat with him and he doesn't have to worry. I think he's a worrier but the club will look after him. We have assured him we will back him and we will look after him."
Sidibe had come as close as making the substitutes' bench before his latest setback, and would likely have been called on as Pulis tries to navigate a punishing schedule this week that sees Monday night's meeting with Newcastle followed by a trip to Maccabi Tel Aviv on Thursday and a clash against Bolton on Sunday.
"We've got a difficult week," Pulis added. "For the game to be put back to Monday is disappointing for us because we then have to play Thursday and then Sunday again so we have virtually no rest at all.
"But you can't take the money and then argue about the fixtures and when they're played."
Pulis will keep a close eye on his players' condition before picking a side for each match.
"Because it's such a difficult week, I will look at the situation closely this week. We play Monday, then we're flying Wednesday, flying back after the game and we've a game against Bolton on Sunday. The third game of the week is a difficult, difficult game," he said.