Pulis delighted as Kitson excels
Stoke City manager Tony Pulis believes Dave Kitson is ready to make his mark at the club after a difficult year following his £5.5m move from Reading. The 29-year-old striker scored the only goal against Sunderland at the Britannia Stadium with his first Barclays Premier League goal. It was the second time he found the target inside a week, following his strike in the Carling Cup win over Leyton Orient.
Kitson wheeled away in delight after his goal in the 43rd minute when Sunderland failed to clear a corner from Liam Lawrence. Last season he failed to settle and after 18 games without a goal for the Potters, he was loaned back to his old club Reading in January.
Pulis said: "We are pleased Dave has got on the scoresheet. It has been a long time coming. I have to say the supporters have been first class with him.
"I have never known anything like it for a player who was the record signing not to score for 12 months and still the fans to get behind him and encourage him.
"It speaks volumes for the supporters of this club," he said. "Strikers more than other players really rely on scoring goals for their confidence.
"So you can imagine Dave has been a little bit shell-shocked. He's had problems away from football as well with his family settling up here," said Pulis. "But he has come back this season a lot brighter in himself and with the group."
Pulis, who gave a run-out in the second half to new signings Tuncay Sanli and Robert Huth, could soon secure the services of Sunderland defender Danny Collins. Collins was on the bench for Sunderland with question marks about his future after a fee was agreed between the clubs.
Manager Steve Bruce said: "We have given Danny the opportunity to speak to Stoke. It is his call now. He has been a wonderful servant to the club. We will leave it up to him over the next couple of days to see what he wants to do."
Carlos Edwards and Grant Leadbitter have been given permission to speak to Ipswich and Bruce added: "Whether anything will happen before Tuesday we are not quite sure." Bruce was angered at the way his side failed to deal with Stoke's set-pieces.
He said: "We have conceded against Chelsea, Blackburn and again today. We should have dealt with the corner two minutes before half-time. The simple fact is we struggle desperately to defend our box. I have to ask the questions whether we are going to be brave enough to deal with it.
"Certainly at the moment we have to do something as it is a huge problem. If you struggle to defend set-pieces in the Premier League you come unstuck. You know what to expect when you come to Stoke. They proved last year their ground is a bit of a fortress," he said. "They have started off the same this season.
"We huffed and puffed, but lacked that bit of quality. That final pass, that final cross too often went astray and that cost us."