Talking Point: Albion boss right to make FA Cup changes

3:00pm Thursday 20th February 2014 in Albion By Andy Naylor
Oscar Garcia made seven changes against Steve Bruce's Hull
Oscar Garcia was harshly Savaged on Twitter for his team selection against Hull.
Former Albion loanee turned BBC Premier League pundit Robbie Savage was critical of the Spaniard for the number of changes he made.
He said Oscar should have fielded his strongest team.
The head coach got it about right in my view.
Yes, he made seven changes to the side that edged past Leeds but Savage did not do his homework.
Two of the players brought in, Will Buckley and Kazenga LuaLua, are first-choice wingers.
In midfield Oscar had to make an alteration, with Dale Stephens Cup-tied. Keith Andrews and Jake Forster-Caskey, both injured recently, have featured in more than half of Albion's Championship games.
Many teams change their goalkeeper for the FA Cup and Peter Brezovan was always expected to play.
The only slight risk Oscar took was disrupting the dependable back four by playing Lewis Dunk and Adam Chicksen.
It worked, especially with Dunk. Albion were sound defensively once more until conceding Hull's late equaliser.
They had five youngsters on the pitch in the second half - Dunk, Chicksen, Forster-Caskey, Rohan Ince and substitute Solly March.
Savage should have praised Oscar for giving youth a chance and going so close to upsetting a strong Hull line-up instead of slating him.
How else is Oscar meant to assess whether Dunk and Chicksen will be up to it in the Championship if Gordon Greer or Stephen Ward get injured unless he plays them when a suitable opportunity arises?
It is a squad game nowadays and Oscar is going to need everybody with seven games crammed into March, six more in April and a trip to Blackburn to rearrange.
He had to take into account when naming his side to face Hull Saturday's significant fixture at home to Wigan, together with the fact that Albion were originally scheduled to visit Blackburn next Tuesday.
Buckley asked to come off at half-time, due to his recurring hamstring trouble. If Oscar had done it the Savage way and fielded his strongest eleven, what other damage might have been done to the Championship challenge?
And who could say with any confidence the result would have been different?

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