West Brom will be going flat out to reach the next round of the FA Cup according to boss Tony Pulis.
The Baggies welcome West Ham to the Hawthorns in the fifth round tomorrow and while Pulis has acknowledged the club’s priority is the Premier League, he is determined to take Albion as far as possible in this year’s competition.
Speaking at his press conference ahead of tomorrow’s game he said: “The priority is to stay in the Premier League but we also want to do well in the cups.
“We will be going flat out tomorrow as I’m sure Sam [Allardyce] will.
“If you’re talking about football now or sport in general finances are so important. Nobody can get away from the amount of money football clubs can earn from staying in the Premier League.
“I have always tried to be competitive in all the cup ties. I think it is important that you do that and the supporters know that you are doing that. We will be as strong as we possibly can tomorrow.”
The 57-year-old has experience of a Wembley FA Cup final having taken Stoke there in 2011, losing 1-0 to Manchester City, and he spoke of the speciality of the occasion.
“It is a wonderful journey, I enjoyed it, and everyone in Stoke-on-Trent enjoyed it.” Said Pulis. “It is not just going to the final, it’s the semi-final as well which is a wonderful occasion.”
Far from home comforts
Having beaten local rivals Birmingham City 2-1 away in the last round Pulis is delighted his side have drawn a home tie this time around.
However the former Stoke City and Crystal Palace is under no illusions of the difficulty that comes with facing the Hammers these days and was full of praise for the job Sam Allardyce and the board have done to turn the Londoners around.
He said: “At the back end of last year I think there was a lot of people criticising Sam, he rode the wave and he has done a fantastic job there.
You have to give the board of directors some credit for sticking with Sam. Not only have they stuck with him but they have signed some really good players that have pushed them on.
When the draw was made it was lovely to play at home but we knew West Ham would be one of the toughest games we could have drawn.”
Albion will be without captain Darren Fletcher who is cup tied having played for Manchester United earlier in the competition and the Baggies boss confirmed that Chris Brunt would reclaim the captain's armband for tomorrow’s early kick-off.
There is also a possibility of Carlton Cole, the man who came so close to joining the Midlands club on deadline day, lining up for West Ham tomorrow but Pulis admitted that is just life in the world of football.
He said: “That is the way it is sometimes, whether Carlton’s in the team or not we will have to wait and see.”