Clubs in Europe need help - Stoke City boss Tony Pulis

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis says that clubs competing in Europe should be given greater flexibility over their domestic fixtures.

The Potters, who host Besiktas on Thursday, have away matches after each of their six Europa League group games.

Pulis said: "If we are representing England, you'd expect the FA to give you the best opportunity to do well.

"We know the dates early, so is there a chance we can work a system where we are not playing six away games?"

City also had away Premier League fixtures after both legs of the Europa League qualifying round win over Swiss side FC Thun.

The Potters were unbeaten this season before travelling to Sunderland on the Sunday after their 1-1 draw away to Dynamo Kiev, but suffered a 4-0 defeat at the Stadium of Light.

And, following Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson's comments that television companies hold too much power when it comes to deciding fixtures, Pulis has called for some control to be given back to the clubs.

The former Gillingham boss added: "Television revenue has been of enormous value to football clubs in England but I also think there should be a chance for clubs, if they are in Europe, to sit down with the Premier League, the Football Association and the television companies and arrange the fixtures in a way that will help those clubs.

"I think there has to be a change somewhere along the line where you actually sit down before the fixtures come out.

"Because we played two away games after two of our qualifying games, it's a total of eight, which is an unbelievable statistic. It is something we have to get on with, but personally I don't think it is right.

"Why couldn't we have sat down before the season started? We don't want any favours, but we want an even run at it, which would be playing four at home and four away."

A Premier League spokesman has said that Stoke's sequence of games was affected by a police request for them to play away on the weekend of August 20-12 due to the V Festival taking place nearby, which has affected the rest of their schedule.

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