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Page last updated at 09:44 GMT, Monday, 17 January 2011

Stoke City boss Tony Pulis to target younger players

Hoffenheim striker Demba Ba
Demba Ba had agreed terms with Stoke before the move fell through

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis has said he plans to sign younger players in an effort to continue the club's excellent progress in the Premier League.

The Potters pulled out of a deal to sign Hoffenheim striker Demba Ba, 25, for £6m after he failed a medical.

"If we stay up this year, we want to get younger players integrated into the team and build a team up of younger players," Pulis told BBC Radio Stoke.

"Demba would have definitely dropped into that category."

He continued: "We've got our eyes on one or two others that, if we can maintain this, we're hoping we'll bring in next year and build a team up that can really drive forward."

The Potters are in their third season in the Premier League and enjoying their best campaign since returning to the top division in 2008.

A 2-0 home victory over Bolton Wanderers on Saturday lifted them up to eighth position in the table, collecting 30 points from 22 matches.

Much of Stoke's success has been based on the arrivals of experienced Premier League performers including Abdoulaye Faye, Matthew Etherington and Dean Whitehead.

But Pulis is keen to reduce the average age of his squad, with Senegal international Ba seen as one of the pieces of that jigsaw.

Ba had agreed personal terms on a move to the Britannia Stadium on Friday but problems with his medical prevented Stoke from completing the deal.

However, Pulis confirmed he would be still be interested in taking the player.

"It's important that we stress that this deal fell through because of his injury," added the Stoke manager.

"If our club doctor has said it's going to take three, four, five months before it settles down, I don't see any point in doing a deal.

"But if it's weeks, then who knows. It might be right to do it."



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