Flu bug hampers West Brom’s FA Cup preparations

West Brom’s FA Cup hopes have been hit after a flu bug swept through the squad.

Ben Foster, Ahmed Hegazi, Gareth McAuley, Jay Rodriguez, Sam Field and James McClean are all struggling ahead of Saturday’s fourth-round trip to Liverpool.

Boss Alan Pardew wants to play a strong side in the tie at Anfield but will wait until Saturday to see who is fit.

He said: “We’ll be strong. We’ve got a little bit of a flu bug in terms of a few players. McClean, Rodriguez, Foster, Hegazi and G-Mac, so there’s a few.

“We’ll have to see how we go overnight to really assess the team.

“But certainly there’s enough players available to not make too many changes.”

Albion drew 0-0 at Anfield in the Premier League in December and are three points from the safety line in their battle for survival.

They could sell Jonny Evans, with Arsenal in pole-position, to fund new signings but Pardew wants to avoid a late scramble ahead of Wednesday’s deadline.

Egypt international Ali Gabr is lined up to join from Zamalek but Pardew hopes the next few days will not define Albion’s Premier League future.

“I’m not sure about survival chances. If you look at the Premier League, we’re four points off 14th,” he said.

“It’s so very very tight. All the clubs are manoeuvring and we’re all nervous.

“From Jose Mourinho to Pep Guardiola to me and anybody else around the bottom. We’re all nervous because we’d all like to move our squads if we can.

“To bring in one or two players that could give the group a lift. We’re definitely one of those teams.

“Is it more important for us than others? I don’t know. That’s where we are at the moment and we’re trying to do business right now.”

But Pardew insisted he will not be tempted into selling Salomon Rondon.

The striker has earned praise after his compassionate reaction following the accidental clash which left Everton midfielder James McCarthy with a broken leg last week.

“Salomon has been absolutely brilliant since I’ve been here,” he said.

“He has been playing terrific football without getting reward in terms of goals.

“That’s the next part of the ingredient for him, in my tenure here. He showed his leadership quality in response to (James) McCarthy’s injury.

“We wish him the best. We go on. Salomon is not part of any deal.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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