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Orlando too soon for Saido

15 July 2015

Pulis on Orlando, pre-season and transfer dealings

SAIDO Berahino will not be risked in Albion’s pre-season friendly against Orlando City tonight (ko 7.30pm USA/12.30am UK).

The striker is working his way back to full fitness having sustained a knee injury while on England duty in mid-June, forcing him to withdraw from the European Under-21 Championships.

Having not travelled to Austria, Berahino is again training with his Baggies team-mates in the USA, where Florida-based Major League Soccer (MLS) side Orlando are the first of three opponents on the club’s 10-day stay on the East Coast.

But Berahino will not jeopardise his recovery on the artificial surface of the Citrus Bowl, while head coach Tony Pulis – who insists the friendly is all about fitness and not the scoreline – will also consider how much involvement other members of his squad will have. 

“Saido certainly won’t play, and we will have a look at Joleon and Jonas and people like that,” Pulis said.

“It’s more about match fitness and putting in place building blocks in terms of their fitness.”

Pulis added: “The work we’ve done so far with the lads is very good.

“This part of pre-season is all about game time so in this trip the lads will get some good game time in games that will be very difficult.

“The American season is halfway through so their players are fitter than ours, and we encounter artificial turf as well, which is going to be very difficult.

“Adrian (Heath, Orlando manager) has got a very good side so it will be a tough game, but it’s not the result or the performance I’m looking for, it’s for the players to get through the game, give it as much as they possibly can and move on to the next one.

“Now it’s more about game time and rest.”

One player who is certain be involved against Orlando is summer signing James McClean, who arrived at The Hawthorns from Wigan last month.

And speaking from Florida, Baggies boss Pulis took the opportunity to give an update on the club’s transfer dealings and his pursuit of new faces.

“We’ve got numerous targets and we will keep trying to do them, but you have to understand that we have to do good business for the club financially,” he said.

“We have to have a list of players and if people are unrealistic and ask too much, we have to move on and find people who are realistic and people who want to play for this club.

“At the moment the market out there has gone crazy and you have to buy into things but you have to be sensible as well.”

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