Club News

Irvine means business in Capital One Cup

Boss does his homework for second-round clash with Oxford

ALAN Irvine's trip to Morecambe last week is a signal to his players he is taking the Capital One Cup seriously.

The Baggies boss watched tonight's second-round opponents Oxford (ko 8pm0 lose 1-0 in their League Two encounter last Tuesday.

And, after doing his homework, he has forged a plan he hopes will ensure the Baggies' safe passage past the U's.

“It is the way that I have always worked and will continue to work," said Irvine.

"It is a lot better to see players playing live.

"I was at Tottenham v QPR on Sunday and the fact is that I will go wherever there is a game that is important to us.

"I would not normally be at Morecambe and Oxford in this role but there was an opportunity to go and see them and I am really glad that I did because I have a good idea what to expect from Oxford.”

Former Baggies midfielder and assistant head coach Michael Appleton will return to The Hawthorns as Irvine's opposite number.

And the Albion chief recognises it will add extra spice to a tricky encounter.

“I met a few former Albion faces the other night and they are looking forward to the occasion and I hope that they enjoy the occasion - but not the result," he added.

"This competition really is important.

"I am not someone who would be saying that we would not be approaching it as an important game. 

"It is very important - I would like a cup run.

"I am sure that our fans would love a cup run. 

"I am sure the board would love a cup run - and that is what we will try and get."

Irvine also insists he will only select players who were forced to miss big chunks of pre-season if they are now genuinely at the level to compete with United.

“We won’t choose anyone for the sake of giving them a run-out," he said.

"That will not happen. 

"I will only put people in who I think are able to play at a good level in the game. It would be disrespectful to Oxford - and it is not going to be an easy game.

"I know what Oxford's results have been like this season but they did win in the cup. 

"And when I watched them last week at Morecambe they played extremely well.

"I will approach this as a first-team game.

"Very much a game for people who are ready to play."