Thursday 22 March 2018

Pardew eager to keep rivals within reach as Baggies battle for survival

Pardew is wary of his side being cut adrift in the drop zone.

Alan Pardew
Alan Pardew

By Nick Mashiter, Press Association Sport

West Brom boss Alan Pardew is aiming to keep the relegation scrap wide open as the Baggies battle for survival.

Albion head to Everton on Saturday sitting second bottom of the Premier League having just ended a 20-game winless run.

A 2-0 win against Brighton left them two points from safety, with just six points separating the Baggies and West Ham in 11th.

Victory at Goodison Park could take Pardew’s team out of the relegation zone and the former Crystal Palace boss is eager to not lose sight of their rivals.

He said: “That really is on our agenda, to drag a few in. We can only do that by winning games. There’s no chance of Everton getting dragged into it if they beat us.

“Every time we come up against a team not in that echelon at the top – and let’s put Burnley in there, hats off to them – everybody else will be under pressure.

“Getting out of the bottom three is not something that’s easily done.

“We’ve got to go and win at Everton to do that and other games go our way.

“I still think our home games will determine whether this club will remain a Premier League club.

“Our fans need to focus on every home game and with away games – if someone said would you take a point at Everton? I would because it’s a tough game.

“They’re in a tricky period right now but I know Sam (Allardyce) well enough to know they would have worked hard this week on making sure things are right.”

Jonny Evans is expected to start despite the continued speculation linking him with Manchester City, Arsenal and a return to Manchester United.

But Pardew has nothing but praise for his captain over the way he has handled the situation.

“I don’t think that’s the case with all those players who have been aligned with bigger clubs, but you certainly can’t put it at his door,” he said.

“He’s been terrific and has a core mentality about this thing. Other players I’ve experienced in the past, their emotions get the better of them.

“You have to remind them, ‘you’re letting the team down’ but I’ve never had to do that with Jonny.”

Press Association

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