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Pulis should think carefully before making drastic changes in January window
4:11pm Wednesday 4th December 2013 in Sport
EAGLES columnist WILL TAYLOR is keen for Tony Pulis not to make the same mistake as predecessor Ian Holloway when he signed too many players in the last transfer window.
TONY Pulis marked his debut in the Selhurst Park dug-out with a valuable victory over fellow strugglers West Ham last night.
The performance was typically Pulis, bereft of genuine quality or technical flair but compensated for with defensive resilience and a never-say-die attitude.
West Ham boasted the majority of possession and superior players in almost every position but when the likes of Ravel Morrison threatened, their spark was swiftly snuffed out.
The match was far from enjoyable and yet it was still inspiring and somewhat reassuring, especially as the resulting three points lifted the club off the foot of the table.
Since his arrival Pulis has refrained from overseeing a mass overhaul, as some feared he might, instead opting to tweak and fine-tune the progress already implemented under Keith Millen.
The setting on the dial labelled ‘work-rate’ now reads 11, with players now eager to avoid an earful of Pulis persuasion should they lose their concentration, or indeed their marker.
However, one of few changes has seen a return to the much-maligned 4-4-2 system, a formation as unfashionable as the tracksuit and cap combo favoured by our new messiah.
Cameron Jerome and Marouane Chamakh look like leading the line for the foreseeable future and while neither can claim to be prolific, they do at least offer that certain ‘presence’ favoured by the new manager.
Pulis should certainly relish getting the best out of Chamakh, whose deft header shortly before half-time proved to be the winner last night.
Only Aston Villa’s powerhouse striker Christian Benteke has won more aerial duels than the Brylcreemed Moroccan, while his statistics in front of goal are as much a cause for optimism as concern.
Chamakh may have attempted a pitiful four shots this season, but three have hit the target and two have found the back of the net.
It’s clear his confidence in and around the box lies back in Bordeaux, but if it can find a way over to SE25 then Pulis will have truly dangerous centre forward at his disposal.
There are reasons for festive cheer elsewhere in the squad.
Joel Ward remains one of the most competent right-backs in the country, while only the best playmakers will be able to find a way past the barricade erected by anchormen Mile Jedinak and Kagisho Dikgacoi.
Special praise must also be reserved for Barry Bannan, a player who exhibits a new string on his bow every time he struts out in red and blue.
The petite Scotsman couples textbook technique with relentless enthusiasm, like a bulldog nipping at your heels before refusing to yield once he has robbed you of your possessions.
And herein lies the key to maintaining the vocal ferocity currently emanating from the club’s fantastic support.
It may sound terribly stereotypical and rather ignorant, but the British public really do treasure grit and determination above all else.
If the players continue to display such hunger then Selhurst Park will continue to resemble the clichéd fortress Pulis seems so keen to build.
Pulis has again stressed his desire to add top flight quality and experience in January, but when he mentioned his purchase of James Beattie as a prime example I almost shuddered in disbelief.
It’s worth remembering Ian Holloway admitted his critical mistake was abandoning the players who had done so well to achieve promotion.
I hope Pulis isn’t so quick to disregard those currently revitalising the fortunes at the club.
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