Stoke boss Pulis has no regrets over cancelling Ba deal

The Potters boss tried to sign the striker in January 2011, but a failed medical saw the 26-year-old move to West Ham and then Newcastle where he has scored 16 goals this season

Stoke manager Tony Pulis does not regret missing out on signing Newcastle striker Demba Ba.

The Senegalese striker had looked set to join the Potters in January 2011 from Hoffenheim, but the deal collapsed after Ba failed a medical with a knee problem that Pulis described as a “ticking time-bomb”.

The 26-year-old, as a result, joined West Ham later in the month and hit seven goals in 12 Premier League appearances.

But both the Hammers relegation and his impressive form earned him a move to Newcastle United five months later, and he is currently the fourth-highest Premier League goalscorer this season having notched 16 goals.

Pulis, however, insists that he has no regrets about not signing Ba ahead of his side’s trip to the Sports Direct Arena on Saturday to face his current employers.

He told reporters: “No [regrets], not at all.

“We have a medical team here who made a decision and they are fantastic - you only have to see the number of times we get various people on the pitch and what we get out of our players.

“They don't need any backing up. They thought there was a problem there - fine, we'll get on with it.”

The Magpies have also brought in Ba’s fellow countrymen Papiss Demba Cisse, and the ex-Freiburg striker has been in outstanding form, netting 10 times in nine games for Alan Pardew’s side.

And the Potters boss hopes the Senegalese pair will have an off-day on Saturday.

“Both of them [Ba and Cisse] have done brilliantly, and good luck to them. I don't wish them any harm at all - except for when we play against them,” he added.

The 54-year-old also had much praise for Pardew, whose appointment in December 2010 was met by much criticism by the Newcastle faithful.

But the Englishman has guided the Toon to fifth and the North East club are now in with a serious chance of Champions League football with five games to go as they sit level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham.

And Pulis believes Pardew has proved the doubters wrong.

The Welshman added: “Let's not forget that there were a hell of a lot of Newcastle supporters who didn't want Alan there and were moaning and complaining.

“It is a good job the chairman didn't take any notice of them, because he has done fantastically.

“I'm pleased for him because I think universally it was accepted that he wasn't the right man for the job initially.

“It is always nice when a manager can prove people wrong, Alan has done that up there and now the supporters love him.”