Potter braced for Pulis challenge
Graham Potter reckons he will go head-to-head with one of the finest managers in the land when Swansea City face Middlesbrough this weekend.
And the Swans boss says a big display will be required from his players as they take on a Boro side who he expects to be promotion contenders this season.
The Swans’ trip to the Riverside Stadium on Saturday (3pm) will see Potter pit his wits against Tony Pulis, the vastly experienced veteran of more than 1,000 games as a manager.
Pulis, 60, has been working in the dugout since landing his first job at Bournemouth back in 1992.
The Welshman had spells in charge at Gillingham, Bristol City, Portsmouth, Stoke (twice), Plymouth, Crystal Palace and West Brom before joining Boro last December, and Potter is a big fan.
“I have huge, huge respect for his teams and how he does his work,” Potter said.
“Tony Pulis has had a fantastic career. In terms of British managers, he is up there with anybody when you look at his longevity, his ability to win games and organise teams based on the strengths they have.
“When you are talking about managers who know how to bring people together and get results, he has a fantastic record.”
Pulis steered Boro to fifth place last season after taking the reins from Garry Monk midway through the campaign.
But the hope on Teesside is that Boro, who were beaten in last term’s play-off semi-finals by Aston Villa, can go one better this time around by finishing in the top two.
And Potter has no doubt that Saturday’s opponents will be in the promotion mix come the end of the season.
“They have got a good mix – they can play good football and also be resolute,” he added.
“From what I have seen of Middlesbrough this season, they are a good footballing team – they dominated the ball against Bolton this week. They had good possession and created chances.
“They have good players and they are also organised and can be a threat from set-plays.
“I think it’s disrespectful to say Tony’s teams don’t play good football.
“They are organised and have hard-working players who know what they are doing, but people like (Adam) Clayton, (Stewart) Downing and (Jonny) Howson are good footballers and they have also made some good signings.
“They will be one of the strongest teams in this league this season.”