McAuley calls for Baggies to share scoring burden
GARETH McAuley is delighted to have made his return to Albion’s starting XI on Saturday but is equally concerned with the greater good of the team than personal satisfaction.
The experienced Northern Ireland international made his first Barclays Premier League start of the season against Hull at the KC Stadium.
McAuley overcame a troublesome calf injury during the summer and has had to be patient this term due to the impressive form of Craig Dawson and Joleon Lescott at the heart of defence.
The 35-year-old was recalled at the weekend at the expense of Dawson, and duly helped keep a clean sheet with a man-of-the-match display against the Tigers in a goalless stalemate on Humberside.
And McAuley is determined to keep hold of his place for the visit of local rivals Villa this weekend.
“It’s nice to be back out there, there’s no denying it or hiding it,” he said.
“It’s been frustrating and most of the frustration has been with myself for getting injured when a new manager came in and not being able to have a good pre-season.
“Obviously the lads have been doing well so I wasn’t really getting a sniff.
“It’s unfortunate, it’s Catch-22 really because I want the team to do well but a run of results has opened up an opportunity for me.
“I’m happy to be out there but on the other hand I want good results for the players, the club and the coaches.”
McAuley continued: “Daws had done very well and I couldn’t really complain, so I’ve not been knocking on the manager’s door because Daws has been doing well.
“The manager made a decision on Saturday and I was happy with it.
“He will definitely be back and he’s right there now as competition.
“We had a clean sheet on Saturday but football changes very quickly and anything can happen.
“I just hope I can get to play the next game.”
Saturday’s goalless draw means Albion have found the net just once in their last seven games, with the strikes at Leicester and Bournemouth marked down as own goals.
It came after a period of 13 goals in six games prior to that, and McAuley is calling on his Baggies team-mates in every position to share the burden and start chipping in.
“It’s important. We’ve got to share that load. Everyone has got to get goals,” he said.
“We need goals from midfielders and defenders – from everywhere.”