Crossley thanks Hermann

ON-loan Stoke City keeper Mark Crossley has thanked Hermann Hreidarsson for his honesty, which allowed the Welshman to keep his international hopes alive.

ON-loan Stoke City keeper Mark Crossley has thanked Hermann Hreidarsson for his honesty, which allowed the Welshman to keep his international hopes alive.

Crossley admitted that he had pulled the Icelander back and, if Hreidarsson had gone down, he is sure a penalty would have been awarded and he would have been dismissed. He said: "He had got past me so I tugged him back. It was enough to hold him back so I was able to catch up and clear. All credit to him, he didn't go down when I pulled him back, if he had I would have been off and it would have been a penalty, no doubt."

The 33-year-old only joined Tony Pulis' side on Friday for a second stint on loan from Middlesbrough and he is hoping he can secure a starting place for Wales.

Wales boss Mark Hughes' right-hand man Eddie Niedjwiecki was in the Portman Road directors' box running the rule over possible inclusions for the Welsh squad to play Azerbaijan in at the end of this month. Crossley said: "Getting sent off would have be a disaster for me. I came to Stoke to get first-team football so I could win my place as the starting keeper for Wales.

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"To go in my first game would have been terrible for me and for Stoke who have taken a second chance on me. I'm grateful to Hermann for being so honest and I was really upset and disappointed for him when he went off with such a nasty injury. I really hope he comes back soon."

Crossley went on to produce a man- of-the-match display with a string of vital saves from Darren Bent, Richard Naylor and Jim Magilton.

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But his manager Tony Pulis played down his heroics and added: "He made some terrific saves but that is what he is paid to do. He played his part

in a very good team performance."

There had never been a goalless draw with Stoke at Portman Road but Pulis completely changed his tactics to nullify Town's goal scoring threat.

Instead of the usual 4-4-2, The Potters copied the Blues with a 5-3-2 formation but with little attacking intent. Pulis conceded: "We changed the shape for the first time since I have been here and we went to match them. We have only had a couple of days to work on it but the lads coped well. They threw their heads and their bodies in their way.

"That is what we are going to have to do from now until the end of the season to survive."

Even though they ground out a point Stoke dropped down a place to third bottom, after Brighton beat Rotherham 2-0 at home. City are looking to add to their squad before the transfer deadline.

Pulis added: "It will fluctuate at the bottom so we need to give ourselves a chance. We have brought Mark in now we are looking to bring someone else in to give ourselves that chance."

Stoke City man Lee Mills, who was taken off after four minutes was taken to hospital with a suspected fracture at the side of a knee and may miss the rest of the season.

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