Pulis Standing on Ceremony
By Robert Nichols
Friday 05 Jan 2018 12:26:00
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Tony Pulis signalled his intent as he took his first Boro pre match press conference today, cap on head, standing for questions before a packed press room.

TV, radio and national as well as local papers were represented in the Media Room at Boro’s Rockcliffe Park training conference. Tony Pulis set out his intent for the season ahead but more specifically was focused on tomorrow’s match. A strict 9am start signalled immediate organisation and discipline from the off.

There was a definite crackle of excitement and anticipation in the air this morning as the press awaited the start of Tony Pulis very first pre-match press conference. The experienced Pulis is a bit of a draw and so there were regional reps from the national papers to hear just what attracted him to Boro and what plans he has to take the team and club forward.

First things first, he stood throughout. He was wearing an adidas Middlesbrough navy blue turtle neck top emblazoned with TP and the matching adidas cap was firmly in position on his head. Pulis was clearly announcing his arrival, he was dressed for business.

The mission is quite clear to assess the team, squad and whole football set-up over the course of the next couple of weeks when he will report his findings to Steve Gibson. In the meantime though he means to win games and stack up points.

Even more pressing is his focus not to look beyond the next match, all these years in management have taught him against the folly of taking your eye off the ball of the next match. Besides the next game is an FA Cup game against local rivals Sunderland and Pulis is a big fan of the competition. He was brought up in the 50s and 60s when the Cup Final was THE special game in the season. He has also enjoyed one of his greatest hours when Stoke City made a FA Cup Final and then followed that with a long run in Europe.

Boro fans can certainly agree with Pulis assessment that a good cup run can bring so many golden memories. Tony Pulis is treating tomorrow’s game very seriously indeed, he has a long cup run in his sights. He will also not be believing any tales about Sunderland having a squad decimated by injuries. They all say that, he laughed.

Back to his plans for Boro and how might we expect to see the shape and the size of the squad change over the next few weeks? Pulis has utmost respect for the job Steve Gibson has done over the years and funding the present side. It was one of the big attractions of him taking the job, just as at Stoke working for a man that is born from and really believes in benefiting the local community. Out of respect Pulis will not be knocking on the door to try and break the bank for further signings this January.

It has been well documented already that Pulis prefers a leaner, meaner, keener squad. The gauntlet is thrown down for players like big money signing Ashley Fletcher to prove his worth. Pulis mentioned him by name today.  But the manager also said he guards against first impressions. While he expects a high work ethic from the off he won’t rush to make hasty judgements on the back of only a couple of games and less than two weeks in the job.

Respect was a key feature of this press conference. The former Stoke and West Brom boss said that the side might not be set up as he might have wished but he wasn’t blaming Garry Monk. He was careful to underline Alan Pardew was probably thinking the same thing right now at WBA. Every manager has his own ideas of what he wants, he stressed.

Yet Pulis intends to lay down all the signposts to re start the fires at Boro. This is a Pulis re-set we are witnessing. But with Boro 8th place in the table and poised to play a plum 3rd round FA Cup tie with Sunderland he has no doubts that we are in a very good position to make things happen this season. Getting promotion may not be his mandate but can bet your life he will be giving it his best shot.

Game on then for the Year of the Cap.

 

 



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