GARETH McAuley believes Albion’s squad is more than capable of balancing an FA Cup run with their Barclays Premier League programme ahead of tomorrow’s third-round tie with Crystal Palace at The Hawthorns (ko 3pm).
The Baggies were without Victor Anichebe, who is recovering from a groin problem, for the 1-0 New Year’s Day win over Newcastle – while Billy Jones was substituted at half-time after suffering a cut to his face.
The triumph over the Magpies was the club’s ninth game in 33 days – but McAuley reckons caretaker head coach, Keith Downing, has enough talent at his disposal to advance to the fourth round of football’s oldest competition.
“The changes Keith had made in the last few games, with four or five changes, shows the strength in depth that we have,” said McAuley.
“The club added players in the summer to make us a better squad and we’re using it at the moment.
“It would be nice to have a cup run.
“It takes everyone’s attention away and gives everyone a break from the Premier League.
“We haven’t really had a proper run since I’ve been here so it would be nice.”
The Northern Ireland international hopes a positive result against the Eagles in the cup can provide the springboard for back-to-back top-flight wins when the Baggies take on Southampton tomorrow week.
“We have to take the good things we’ve been doing in the last couple of weeks with Keith [Downing] and Deano [Kiely] and hopefully build on it with a result on Saturday in the FA Cup.
“We need to put back-to-back results in the league together to get ourselves moving forwards.
“We’ve got the cup game first and it would be nice to win that one and then go into Southampton.
“We still back ourselves to do well, we’ve just drawn too many games.
“We haven’t been getting battered or getting the kind of results that make you feel sorry for yourself.
“But things have come to a head and we’ve had to come together.
“Hopefully we can stick together and put some results together.”