January 26, 2018 / 6:05 PM / 25 days ago

Six West Brom players hit by flu ahead of Liverpool clash

(Reuters) - Six West Bromwich Albion players have been struck down by a flu bug ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round match against Liverpool, manager Alan Pardew said.

Ben Foster, Ahmed Hegazi, Gareth McAuley, Jay Rodriguez, Sam Field and James McClean are all struggling, but Pardew wants to field a strong side and will wait until few hours before the kick off to assess their fitness levels.

”We’ve got a little bit of a flu bug in terms of a few players,“ Pardew told reporters on Friday. ”McClean, Rodriguez, Foster, Hegazi and G-Mac, so there’s a few. But certainly there’s enough players available to not make too many changes.

“I’d rather be in a stronger position in the league to attack the cup. Having said that we take less pressure into this game.”

Soccer Football - Premier League - West Ham United vs West Bromwich Albion - London Stadium, London, Britain - January 2, 2018. West Bromwich Albion’s Ahmed Hegazi warms up before the match. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

Pardew celebrated his first win as West Brom manager in the FA Cup third round against Exeter City and followed up with a 2-0 Premier League victory against Brighton and Hove Albion earlier this month.

However, they remain in the relegation zone and three points from safety after 24 matches.

Soccer Football - Premier League - West Bromwich Albion vs Crystal Palace - The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, Britain - December 2, 2017. West Bromwich Albion's Gareth McAuley arrives at the stadium before the match. Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

With Hegazi and McAuley struggling with illness, Pardew confirmed Jonny Evans will feature in the weekend’s clash at Anfield.

British media reports have linked Evans with a move to Arsenal in a swap deal, which includes Mathieu Debuchy going the other way. But Pardew dismissed the reports, saying no official bids have been made for the player.

“That’s not a deal that’s been put to us... we haven’t had a bid put to us that is anywhere near acceptable,” he added.

“What I will confirm is what you already know, Jonny Evans is a target for other clubs, we might sell if the price is right, that’s that deal, everything else is pure speculation.”

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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