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Sep 27, 2012

Clarke backs under-fire Foster

West Bromwich Albion head coach Steve Clarke has backed Ben Foster to recover from his mistake which played a major role in the club's 2-1 Capital One Cup defeat to Liverpool on Wednesday.

Blog: The forward dilemma

Foster, 29, had a night to forget at the Hawthorns, with a string of handling errors - the most crucial coming when he allowed Nuri Sahin's shot to slip under him for Liverpool's equaliser.

It is the first time the former England international's Albion form has come under the microscope, following a long list of excellent performances since joining from Birmingham City.

The mistake was certainly the catalyst for Liverpool's young side to continue the defence of the trophy they won in a penalty shoot-out against Cardiff City last season, but Clarke does not even want to enter into a debate over Foster.

"It's unusual for Ben, but it is not even worth having an in-depth discussion about. It doesn't usually happen to Ben, we move on," he said. "I do think their goal knocked the stuffing out of us. I don't know why, perhaps because of the nature of it and it was such a soft goal, but we have another game to concentrate on now."

The ex-Manchester United goalkeeper was hugely impressive during his season-long loan from Birmingham 12 months ago and was Clarke's top priority signing in the summer, with the two clubs eventually settling on a £4 million fee.

Foster took to his Twitter account to show he is determined to get the mistake out of his system as quickly as possible, starting against Aston Villa on Sunday.

"Straight back to training this morning to get ready for Sunday. Last night sucked but gotta move on," he tweeted.

Liam Ridgewell is a major doubt for the game against his former club after suffering a calf injury just 22 minutes into the game against Liverpool.

That leaves Clarke with a problem ahead of the game at Villa Park, with Steven Reid (hamstring/back) and Goran Popov (groin) both absent with injury against Liverpool.

"I've not had an in-depth analysis on Liam. He felt something in his calf, he went off and it leaves us a little short in the full-back position because Reid has been injured and Popov is injured," Clarke added.

"It is a concern for the weekend. We will assess what we've got. If we can get one or two from the treatment room we will do that, if not we will deal with it. Losing Liam will be disappointing , both for him and for us."

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