Grant: Prepare to get a battering

CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant is expecting Stoke City to try and bump and bruise his Canaries into submission at the Britannia Stadium this Saturday.


Peter Grant is expecting Stoke City to try and bump and bruise his Canaries into submission at the Britannia Stadium tomorrow.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis can hardly hide the fact that he likes a physical presence in his squad - only three of the players that started the game at Southampton last weekend were under six feet tall.

And Grant knows just what City will be up against in what he agrees will be the most demanding test of his short, but so far successful, reign.

"For sure, there's no doubt about that," he said. "That is the way Tony's teams have always been. There's some good players, but they are a very physical side, a powerful side. I think everybody is 6ft 2in and above.

"But we have to match that and use our brains as well as our brawn to win the game. We know what we are up against."

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"That's never changed in any of Tony's teams, that is the least he demands."

There is another side to Stoke, though.

"With that physical prowess they have also got players with great quality, Premier League quality, like Lee Hendrie, a top, top player," said the City boss. "He can be a match winner."

When it comes to the flair, City shouldn't really be lacking, but Grant will now find out whether or not his players are tough enough for the challenge.

"They'd better be, because we'll soon find out if they're not," he said.

"If they're not obviously it creates a problem, but there are different ways to skin a cat in football and you have got to be able to match that.

"People are going to be under pressure, it is a very physical league, with physical demands.

"Hopefully with the physical demands we put on our players they are going to be able to withstand that.

"Sometimes when it comes to the physical side it is more mental than actual physical.

"You have to be strong in your mind to play against teams like Stoke and I am sure we will have that."

One thing is certain in the new regime: should players not be up to scratch they will find their number being held up pitchside.

It happened to midfielder Youssef Safri who was hauled off after 35 minutes at Port Vale after failing to come to terms with a tactical change by the League One .

"I don't think the players will have any problems with that at any time," he said.

"They never like it, I don't like doing it, but if I feel it is not working I will change it.

"If I wait until half-time it's too late, if I wait 10 minutes later it's too late. You go a goal down and say, 'I should have made that change earlier'. It's never nice, but it is a decision I had to make.

"It was not to embarrass Youssef or anything like that - it was just for the betterment of the team."