Belfast Telegraph

Foster praised but unsure of start

West Brom boss Tony Pulis is keeping his cards close to his chest in terms of his goalkeeper selection for Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final at Aston Villa.

The Barclays Premier League derby between the two clubs at Villa Park on Tuesday ended in a 2-1 victory for the hosts after a stoppage-time error from Ben Foster saw the Baggies and England shot-stopper give away a penalty that was converted by Christian Benteke.

Pulis spoke up for Foster - who has kept six clean sheets in all competitions since the Welshman took over at Albion - after the game.

And while refusing to say outright whether or not the 31-year-old would keep his place at the weekend, the head coach once again had praise for Foster at his press conference on Thursday to preview the cup tie.

Asked about his goalkeeper selection for Saturday's game, Pulis said: "I'll be telling the goalkeepers first before I tell you!

"Boaz Myhill has had an injury with a finger, which we have to take into account.

"With the number of clean sheets he has kept (12 overall this season), Ben has been absolutely fantastic.

"Everybody makes mistakes. Goalkeepers get highlighted, like referees, because it can cost you games."

With regard to referees, another notable incident from the latter stages of Tuesday's game saw Villa defender Alan Hutton make a nasty-looking challenge on West Brom striker Saido Berahino and the pair square up to each other before each being booked.

It appeared Hutton was lucky not to have been sent off by referee Jonathan Moss.

And while Pulis was keen on Thursday to avoid hitting out at the official for not doing so, he did once again express his desire for there to be a referral system for managers during games where they get "two calls" each, something he has spoken about in the past.

"I've seen the challenge back," said Pulis.

"I thought Jon managed the game pretty well, and there are enough people at the moment criticising referees and looking to blame them.

"Jon didn't cost us the game on Tuesday, we cost ourselves the game.

"People make good decisions and bad decisions and you have to accept it - but I'm sure he'll look back at it and maybe will analyse it differently to how he did on the night."

He then added: "I would have two calls during a game, where managers can call things back.

"You could put advertising on the big screens (at the same time) - the clubs could make some money from it.

"And it gives a chance to the officials to get right decisions that could be big. They, FIFA and UEFA, have to accept that referees do make mistakes."

Pulis also made his feelings clear about spitting following Wednesday night's incident involving Manchester United defender Jonny Evans and Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse.

"It is disgusting and disgraceful," Pulis said.

"Spitting should never be anywhere near our game. It should be dealt with."

Pulis, while mindful of his side's ongoing league battle to avoid relegation, says he will try to put his "strongest team" out on Saturday.

Forward Victor Anichebe (groin) remains unavailable, and winger Callum McManaman is a doubt due to a foot injury.

Pulis has also said West Brom "have to go careful" with Stephane Sessegnon due to the forward's "personal problems" - understood to be a family bereavement - and that there are a few "knocks and niggles" to deal with.

Berahino and fellow frontman Brown Ideye have both been playing recently with pain-killing injections.

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