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McAuley plays through pain barrier

PUBLISHED

07:00 31st March 2014

And stand-in skipper urges team-mates not to dwell on 'sickening' draw

GARETH McAuley knows Albion cannot afford to dwell on the frustration of seeing two points slip from their grasp in Saturday’s 3-3 draw at home to Cardiff.

The Baggies raced into an early two-goal lead against their relegation rivals only to be reeled back in by the visitors, who then snatched a dramatic point in the fifth minute of injury time after Thievy Bifouma had seemingly won it just moments earlier.

The disappointment was tangible inside The Hawthorns at the full-time whistle but 17th-placed Albion remain three points clear of the Bluebirds and the drop zone.

And stand-in skipper McAuley insists he and his team-mates must draw a line under the weekend and start to focus on rectifying matters at Norwich this Saturday (ko 3pm).   

“Disappointed doesn’t really describe it, it’s a sick feeling,” said the centre-back.

“It’s frustration and anger and all those feelings and emotions you get after a game of football. It’s one of those things. 

“We’re disappointed, obviously we thought we had won the game, we’ve gone to try and improve on the scoreline, we were a little bit naïve with that.

“But that’s hindsight. If the pass comes off then it’s 4-2 and game over as well.”

McAuley added: “It’s a hard one to take but it just means next week’s game is even bigger.

“We’ve got a few bodies coming back in and hopefully they can make an impact on what we’re doing.

“It gives us a bit of confidence that we were working on going forward and creating things, we’ll have to work on our defending this week having obviously conceded three goals.

“It just means next week’s game is massive but at this stage of the season we’re looking at it one game at a time.

“We’ve got to put this behind us and focus fully on trying to win at Norwich.”

McAuley shrugged off an ankle injury to face Cardiff and was visibly struggling with the complaint during the second half but still battled on to complete the 90 minutes.

And the stalwart is determined to ensure he is ready for the clash against the Canaries in Norfolk, where Albion will also be boosted by Jonas Olsson’s return from a two-match suspension. 

“I’m a little bit sore, more mentally than anything else but we’ll get back at it and get ourselves ready for next week,” McAuley said.

“It started to swell again in the second half but you get on with it and hopefully it will be in better condition for next week.”

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