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Oatway: Back to the League

10 January 2013

Charlie Oatway has no fears about Albion’s return to league action on Saturday following an impressive FA Cup win against Newcastle United last weekend...

Albion’s first-team coach praised the players on their win but recognises the Championship is the priority ahead of the game against Derby County, who sit just one place behind the Seagulls and level on points.

Oatway told, “We’re realistic as a management group and the players are too. We know that Newcastle came here with a weakened squad, but again we can only beat what’s in front of us, and our players were magnificent on the day.

“We thoroughly deserved the win but we have got to be realistic with it, so it won’t be a problem to bring them back down to earth. The next round will be another great day for the club but for now we need to concentrate on the league and we’re back to that on Saturday.

“Nigel [Clough] will have them well-drilled. They do try to play and they are another strong outfit. There are a number of teams that could be there or thereabouts.”

Boss Gus Poyet is nearing a full-strength squad as the Championship sides head towards the business end of the season, and Oatway is pleased with the competition for places, which now includes Jake Forster-Caskey after the 18-year-old returned from a loan spell at Oxford United.

“The whole point of having a squad is to add competition. You have cup games and international games, as well as a lot of league games, so because of that you need a squad. Thankfully for us we have got a good one. If we can get them all fully fit the gaffer has problems to pick the starting XI for each game.

“Jake is back with us and looking sharp. We’ve had a good chat with him regarding how he found his loan move. He told us the pluses and minuses and we learned from that too.

"He’s a talented young lad and he’s champing at the bit to get a shirt in the starting XI. He’s confident in his own ability and he will give the gaffer another problem, which Gus loves.”

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