(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.”
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.
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