Pulis rejects calls for Man City fixture switch

LONDON - Stoke City manager Tony Pulis has called on the Premier League not to change the date of their fixture with Manchester City amid fears they might play a weakened team.

Stoke and City, who face each other in the FA Cup final on May 14, were scheduled to play in the league on the same day.

The league match has been pushed back three days, but that has created an intriguing scenario in which it could be in Stoke's interests to lose that game.

Should Stoke lose the cup final, they would still reach the Europa League as cup runners-up if City finished in the Premier League top four and thus qualified for the Champions League, potentially thanks to a win over Stoke in the league game.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, whose side are vying with City for fourth place, has raised concerns about the date of the league match.

"I can see where he (Redknapp) is coming from but which ever team we send out will do their best," Pulis told reporters on Thursday.

"The fixture is there, we are happy with it, Manchester City are happy with it and it has nothing to do with anyone else."

City are currently fourth on 56 points, two clear of Tottenham in fifth, with both teams having played 32 games.

English clubs have three Europa League spots for next season, with Birmingham City already guaranteed a place in the competition having won the League Cup.

One place is given to the team who finish fifth in the Premier League and another to the team that wins the FA Cup.

If City were to win the cup and finish fifth in the Premier League, the remaining Europa League spot would go to the team that end up sixth in the league.

"If they shifted the fixture I would be more annoyed than Harry," Pulis added.

"Whichever team I pick I expect to win."