Belfast Telegraph

Strike force doubts for West Brom

West Brom have doubts over strikers Saido Berahino, Brown Ideye and Victor Anichebe for Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with Stoke.

Berahino and Ideye have been playing through the pain barrier recently while Anichebe has a groin problem.

Winger Callum McManaman has a foot injury which boss Tony Pulis has decided to rest for a few weeks.

Pulis admits he takes great pride in Stoke's success under Mark Hughes because his successor is reaping the benefits of his own work at the Britannia Stadium.

While the Baggies head into the match on the back of two frustrating defeats to local rivals Aston Villa in league and cup action, Stoke are looking for a fourth successive win and sit eighth in the table.

While Pulis stopped short of claiming the credit for Stoke's current success, the Welshman was happy to point out his influence in their squad.

"The great thing for me about the club is that you leave it in a condition where it can grow and grow and get better," he said.

"Look at the players who are there, the backbone of that football club, like Glenn Whelan, Ryan Shawcross, Asmir Begovic, Steven N'Nonzi, Peter Crouch, Jon Walters, just a few to mention. Marc Wilson, Geoff Cameron, wonderful people and wonderful professionals, and it's really nice when you take over a club with all good professionals like that."

He added: "How many players has Mark brought in?

"I don't know but the majority of the lads who were there before still seem to be picked week-in week-out, that's testament to them as individuals to win over a new manager.

"Glenn Whelan and Ryan Shawcross are the only ones who were there when we got promoted from the Championship.

"They've been brilliant.

"And they've been brilliant for the football club."

Ryan Shawcross is available for Stoke after recovering from a back problem.

The defender has been out since January but Hughes must make a decision whether to throw him straight back in.

Stephen Ireland is likely to sit out with a gashed leg while Philipp Wollscheid (groin) is struggling and Bojan Krkic and Peter Odemwingie (both knee) remain long-term absentees.

"We have had another very good season up until now and we still have so much to play for," said Hughes.

"Some teams are maybe guilty of taking their eye off the ball at this time of year, especially teams in the middle of the table, but I can say that we certainly won't be doing that.

"The guys have a tremendous focus at the moment, and that has been evident in training this week after their break last weekend.

"They know that they have a chance to make more history this season and you can really sense that they want to grab that opportunity with both hands.

"We ended the season incredibly strongly last year and there is no reason as to why we can't do the exact same this time round. That is certainly the target."

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph