And defender looking to build on impressive away record
GARETH McAuley insists Albion are now better equipped to deal with the ‘hectic’ festive period – ahead of this evening’s trip to Newcastle (ko 5.30pm).
The St. James’ Park clash begins a run of eight Barclays Premier League fixtures in only 33 days for the Baggies – and the first of three games in a week.
And McAuley believes Steve Clarke’s squad is now strong enough to withstand the busiest phase of the season.
“We have a squad that is now capable of dealing with a hectic schedule over December, Christmas and January,” said McAuley.
“Because the games come thick and fast you can pick up knocks that would normally clear up during a quiet week.
“It can be hard to recover from a knock when you’ve got games ahead of you.
“But now we have players who can just step in.
“The way we’re coached and the way we’re trained means that everyone knows their jobs.
“It’s only a slight transition when it comes to changing the team around.
“We’re very experienced as well.
“That can only help during what will be a busy period.”
Albion have lost only one game away from home this term – having drawn four and won one on the road.
McAuley sees no reason why the Baggies cannot extend their impressive away record in North East tonight – but admits Newcastle will provide tough opposition.
“We’ve been good away from home,” McAuley added.
“We also have that little bit of confidence.
“Obviously, Newcastle are picking up points and scoring goals.
“They’re looking pretty strong and I’m sure they’ll be a big test for us.
“They’re one of the form teams at the minute.
“It’s up to us to go there, stick to our game plan, and try to impose ourselves on them.
“I’m certain it’s going to be a good game.
“It’s going to be tough too.
“But it’s usually an entertaining game.
“If we can do the things we’ve been asked then hopefully we’ll have enough to win it.”