TONY Pulis is backing Kenwyne Jones to bounce back from his open-goal gaffe at the weekend and provide the cutting edge needed to win next week's FA Cup final.
Jones blew the chance to score for a fifth consecutive game when skewing wide of an open goal in first-half stoppage time during Saturday's goalless draw at Blackpool.
Pulis acknowledged the error from his 11-goal striker, but quickly dismissed it aside as a minor blip ahead of Arsenal's visit next Sunday and then the big one against Manchester City at Wembley on May 14.
"It was most probably too easy a chance and he took his eye off the ball," said a sympathetic Pulis.
"But to be fair the ball did bounce up on a difficult surface and with the wind blowing around – I hope I've done my best for him there!
"If Kenwyne had scored, we would probably have gone on from there. Great scorers score great goals, but they miss easy chances as well."
Pulis quickly allayed fears of Stoke's injury curse striking for a fourth time ahead of Wembley after insisting Andy Wilkinson would soon shake off the effects of the leg injury which forced his second-half withdrawal to accommodate Premier League debutant Ryan Shotton.
"He got a dead-leg, a kick on the thigh," Pulis explained. "We're not sure how bad it is, but I'm sure it will be OK."
The draw means Stoke have lost just once in their last eight games, but Pulis added: "I thought we shaded it, but it was never going to be a classic with that wind.
"It was a gritty, determined performance and I'm delighted with the effort of our players. On the day we could have won because we had the better chances.
"It was our third game in a week – our second away – and I thought our attitude was fantastic."