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West Brom safety far from certain despite relegation record says Pulis

Tony Pulis was keen to downplay his record of never experiencing relegation in management when officially unveiled as new head coach of West Bromwich Albion, 2/1 chances with Coral for the drop.

The former Stoke City and Crystal Palace boss, 56, has had 22 years in various dugouts, and is yet to taste that sinking feeling.

“Irrespective of my record, everyone is fighting to stay in the Premier League,” said Pulis. “Just because I’ve walked in, it does not mean the club will stay up.

“There is a lot of work to be done. To do that, we need the support of everybody. The Hawthorns rocks when the support is behind the team so we need to get that going again.

“You have to find a way to win games with what you have and work on a system that will suit the players. I hope we can use the transfer window to our advantage and bring a few players in, which we need to. Then we go from there.”

Pulis’ presence will once again be in the stands as the Baggies battle non-league Gateshead in the FA Cup third round this weekend, and this watching brief previously saw Albion earn a draw at West Ham United.

While he is right to point out his history means nothing, Pulis is best known for instilling defensive discipline rather than forward flair. That stereotype of him could see a preference for a physical striker leading the attack, and raises question marks about top scorer Saido Berahino’s future.

Although the Burundi-born England call-up ended a barren spell in front of goal by netting the equaliser at Upton Park on New Year’s Day, Berahino is also a rumoured target of top four hoepfuls Liverpool (13/2) and Tottenham (7/2). Taking the money, which could be anything from a reported £14m to £23m, and reinvesting in a player more in Pulis’ preferred mould may be best for business.

West Brom are odds-on at 4/11 to stay up, so that price reflects both their present position outside the bottom three and, whether he likes it or not, Pulis’ previous record.