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Last Updated: Friday, 5 September, 2003, 07:59 GMT 08:59 UK
Stoke pin hopes on Akinbiyi
Ade Akinbiyi
Akinbiyi has cost over 12m
Tony Pulis believes Stoke's fans could help the Potters win the race to sign Crystal Palace striker Ade Akinbiyi.

But Pulis, who faces competition from Gillingham and Walsall to sign the striker, admits Akinbiyi's wage demands could prove a stumbling block.

Akinbiyi finished last season on loan at the Britannia Stadium and Pulis said: "It's no secret that we've been chasing Ade, and it's also common knowledge that Gillingham and Walsall are keen."

He added: "If Ade comes here, he knows how good the fans are and the sort of welcome he would get from them. They would love him.

"But one of those clubs has made a better financial offer than us, and if he wants something outside our wage structure then we will have to look elsewhere."

Akinbiyi is understood to have agreed a settlement with Palace and is on the lookout for a new club.

The Nigerian striker has held talks with all three interested parties and Stoke remain hopeful the player will sign for them.

"It's now up to Ade to decide on his destination, he knows the club he knows me, and we can only offer what we have done," Potters boss Tony Pulis told BBC Stoke.

Akinbiyi has had a colourful career, costing over 12m, in transfer fees and his previous clubs include Bristol City, Wolves and Leicester.

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