Club News

Irvine braced for selection headache

Head coach faces conundrum ahead of Burnley

Alan Irvine admits Albion’s exciting Capital Cup triumph over Hull City has brought him genuine difficulties for his Premier League selection this weekend.

The Baggies fielded an entirely different starting X1 against Hull from the team that chalked up the club’s first Premier League win of the season at Spurs three days earlier.

But the men in waiting made a big impression with Sebastian Blanco, Claudio Yacob, Liam O’Neill and Cristian Gamboa seizing their chance to make a statement in the scramble for Premier League places.

With first team seniors Gareth McAuley, Youssouf Mulumbu and Jonas Olsson, and the experienced Georgios Samaras also figuring prominently, Irvine acknowledged his choices were becoming ever more difficult.

He said: “It was fantastic to build on a really good result at Tottenham and really important that the players who played on Wednesday gave me things to think about.

“They certainly did that. To a man they can be really pleased with their performances and they have given me some selection issues to think about but they’re the right selection issues because I’m looking at a whole load of players who have played well.

“It’s also great for the mood of the camp because everybody has now played in a winning performance and hopefully we can now build on that on Sunday in what is a really important game.”

Irvine was also pleased to see Silvestre Varela become the last of the summer signings to make the transfer from the training ground to match action.

Irvine added: “Silvestre played 60 minutes in the under-21s  on Monday and played well and the plan was to try to get him some more time on the pitch anyway.

“Sami was intended to go on for 30 or 35 minutes but he had to go on earlier than that and I’m pleased to say that he coped and came through it.

“I thought Cristian Gamboa and Sebastian Blanco both played very well, albeit they were at fault for the first goal because of the short free-kick they took.

“I was really pleased with how they did.

“Jason Davidson got another 90 minutes, which was really important, and I thought we had good performers all the way through.”