Stoke boss Tony Pulis has commended the attitude of Andy Wilkinson, claiming the Potters defender's reaction to a wild-looking challenge from Sunderland's Craig Gardner in Saturday's 0-0 draw at the Britannia Stadium epitomised "the spirit of the game".
Wilkinson was sent flying by a tackle in the 84th minute from Black Cats midfielder Gardner, who got nowhere near the ball and was booked for his trouble. Having picked himself up off the turf, the Stoke man appeared to accept his opponent's apology with some form of a handshake.
And Pulis, who has been calling in recent weeks for more action to be taken against diving, said: "I thought Andy Wilkinson's reaction to the challenge with Gardner in the second half was absolutely fantastic. The crowd have gone up and it looks a bad challenge from where we are. Whether it was I'm not sure, but he certainly caught Wilko."
He added: "But he (Wilkinson) got up, shook his hand, dusted himself down and got on with the game. That is the way it used to be. We talk - and I have been one - about people diving in boxes and falling over, and there is a lot made of that.
"Have a look at what Wilko has done there. That is the spirit of the game and that is men playing against men. It is not boys - it is a man's game and I thought he was very good in doing what he did.
"You might say you hinder yourself because the player could have been sent off and you could have been playing against 10 men. But I'd rather him do that than anything else."
While Wilkinson came out of that collision more or less unscathed, a more innocuous-looking incident earlier in the Barclays Premier League contest left his fellow Stoke defender Marc Wilson with an injury that has now been confirmed as a broken fibula.
Wilson damaged his left leg as he went in with Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher to win the ball just a few minutes into the second half and the Republic of Ireland international had to be carried off on a stretcher.
Pulis said in his post-match press conference that Wilson had been taken straight to hospital and writing on his Twitter account, the player later said: "Have broke my fibula. Hopefully I can make a speedy recovery. Thanks every1 for the support. Really appreciate it."
Stoke on Sunday morning confirmed the news on their official website, with Pulis, who had suggested the injury came as a consequence of Wilson getting his studs caught in the ground rather than any contact from Fletcher, saying: "Marc will be out for a while, but we are not sure at this stage for how long."
- Sports & Recreation
- Andy Wilkinson
- Tony Pulis
- Craig Gardner