G-Mac backs Baggies' belief

GARETH McAuley says Albion are intent on playing without fear as they prepare to start a new era following the departure this week of former Head Coach Tony Pulis.

The experienced Northern Ireland international is hoping that Saturday's trip to Wembley to face Champions League last 16 qualifiers Spurs will see him make a 200th Premier League appearance.

But while the landmark is considerable for an Albion favourite who didn't start at the top level until he was 31, it will be "just another game" - and helping his team get on the front foot again is far more significant.

Assistant Head Coach Gary Megson is in charge until further notice and McAuley says the players have quickly "bought into" the former Albion manager's plans for the challenge ahead.

Asked about training this week McAuley said: "It's been lively. Obviously you get a reaction and the intensity in training has been good. All the players have bought into it and enjoyed it and we're preparing for a big game and a big couple of weeks that are ahead of us.

"Gary has said there will not be a whole lot of changes while he's in charge but he's looking for the intensity in the play to improve. He intends to have a go and wants us to relax on the ball and play without that bit of fear that maybe has crept in to our game with confidence not very high."

McAuley acknowledges that Albion, without a win in 10 games and in 17th position, have work to do to turn the season around but is convinced the quality of player within the dressing room can achieve just that.

He adds: "The table doesn't lie and at the moment we are down there. But I am convinced that the quality of players we have in this club and the belief we have in each other we can hopefully pull away from the relegation zone."

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