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Albion to step up hunt for loan striker
ALBION are poised to step up their hunt for a loan striker after losing red-carded talisman Leo Ulloa for the next three matches.
Ulloa is suspended for Wednesday’s trip to Queens Park Rangers plus games against Bolton and Ipswich after the Argentinian was sent-off for raising his foot in a challenge with Reading defender Alex Pearce during the first half of yesterday’s 0-0 draw at the Madejski Stadium.
Transfer target Jonathan Obika from Spurs is recovering from a recurrence of an ankle injury, but Oscar has Ashley Barnes to call upon following his return from hip trouble against Reading as a second-half substitute.
It is unclear whether Albion will have another forward in time for the testing visit to second-placed Rangers.
Head coach Oscar Garcia, speaking about Ulloa’s absence and the striker search, told The Argus: “He is an important player, but another player will play in his position on Wednesday and try to do their best for the team.
“We have a player that can play in this position, but we have other players injured that can play in this position also. We will see, I cannot answer that now, but yes, it’s a little bit of a problem if Leo cannot play in these three games.”
New loan signing Craig Conway from Cardiff could make his debut against Rangers. The versatile Scottish winger was not involved at Reading, as Albion did not receive international clearance in time from the Welsh FA. Oscar said: “He is fit enough. He was with his national team and he has trained with Cardiff from the start. We think he can help us in a position where we don’t have many players.”
Oscar had no complaints about Ulloa’s 39th-minute dismissal. It denied Albion a golden opportunity to claim all three points after Reading had Russian centre forward Pavel Pogrebnyak sent-off eight minutes earlier for diving when he had already been booked for a foul.
Oscar said: “It was dangerous play by Leo. he didn’t want to touch the player, he wanted to touch the ball, but he touched the player and then it was a sending-off. The referee had a better view than me.
“We had a big chance to win with ten against eleven, but these sort of things can happen.
“I have the mentality that a point is never a good point before playing the game. I don’t know how many chances we had. Their goalkeeper (Alex McCarthy) was man-of-the-match playing at home, which is a good thing for us.”
Oscar was pleased with the performances of Jake Forster-Caskey and Kazenga LuaLua, both promoted to the starting line-up, as Albion stretched their unbeaten run to four games.
“He (Forster-Caskey) has been training really well and he we thought he could help us in this game with his ability,” Oscar said. “I am very happy with him and we know what Kaz can do. I was happy with all the players.”
Casper Ankergren is the latest addition to the Seagulls’ long casualty list. The Danish keeper has an elbow problem, so Peter Brezovan was on the bench as cover for Tomasz Kuszczak.
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