ALAN Pardew says he’s prepared to throw Ali Gabr straight into Albion action after the Egyptian received international clearance on Wednesday.
Ali has secured a work permit meaning he could make his Baggies bow in the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday after signing in January.
Albion face Southampton in the fifth round looking to put right a Premier League defeat by the Saints earlier this month. And Head Coach Alan Pardew said he'd have no qualms in throwing Ali in at the deep end, especially given his relationship with fellow central defender and countryman Ahmed Hegazi.
"Ali has played with Ahmed a few times for the national side. They know each other very well so I'm confident if I have to put that relationship together. Ahmed's helped him settle in and he came to Barcelona and trained well. He's in contention."
One player who won't be in contention on Saturday is Daniel Sturridge after he picked up a hamstring injury just three minutes into Monday night's defeat at Chelsea. It's an injury that Alan says will keep the England international out for "the next two games".
"Daniel Sturridge isn't available. He has a hamstring injury. We don't think it's a very serious one but it's probably serious enough to keep him out of the next two games. Then we'll have to see where he is."
One thing's for sure; the Baggies boss won't see the tie as a chance to rest the big boys. Alan will be out to win the game and continue his side's impressive cup run.
"I don't think it's a chance to look at some young players," he said. "I'm going to pick my best team to go and win the game."