TONY Pulis believes the best is still to come from Kenwyne Jones as he prepares to welcome the striker back into his squad for next Saturday's home game with Fulham.
The £8m hitman is making solid progress after being sidelined for three weeks with a hamstring injury, so Pulis is optimistic about his chances of making the Premier League clash with the Cottagers.
The manager, pictured below, believes an in-form Jones is as dangerous as any striker in the league, and also reckons the 26-year-old is still improving.
The former Sunderland striker is on course to challenge Peter Crouch, Jon Walters, Cameron Jerome and Mama Sidibe for a place against Fulham.
Jones is Stoke's joint-top scorer with Jon Walters, having netted three goals this season. That has taken Jones's Stoke tally to 15 in just 46 starts and five substitute appearances since his move from Sunderland 14 months ago.
Pulis is relishing the prospect of having both Jones and Crouch available, having smashed the club-record £8m Jones fee by paying Spurs £10m for Crouch on August 31 deadline day.
"Kenwyne had been looking sharp again this season before his injury," said Pulis. "And us bringing in Peter Crouch will improve him.
"Peter is a top player and Kenwyne will learn from him. But Kenwyne is also a great player and I have great respect for him.
"On his day he is unplayable and as good as anything in the Premier League.
"The competition will bring the best out of him."
Trinidad and Tobago skipper Jones will miss his country's World Cup qualifier against Bermuda tonight as he continues to recover from the injury he suffered in the Carling Cup victory over Tottenham on September 20.
Pulis has tended to start with either Crouch or Jones in partnership with either Walters or Jerome this season.
But the Stoke boss hasn't ruled out the possibility of playing Crouch and Jones in tandem.
That happened in the latter stages of the 1-0 home win over Liverpool and the 4-0 defeat at Sunderland.
Pulis is open-minded about which partnerships he will use this season, particularly as Sidibe is fit again and Ricardo Fuller is progressing well as he recovers from a ruptured Achilles.
Pulis added: "I think there are still combinations waiting to come out.
"But it will take time. We have brought new players in and have had a lot of games in only a short space of time to try to integrate everyone."