Berahino absence for West Brom due to stomach bug, not transfer interest
West Brom boss Tony Pulis insisted Saido Berahino's FA Cup absence in their 1-0 win against Bristol City was down to a stomach bug and not reported interest from Chelsea and Newcastle.
Berahino was missing from Albion's matchday squad as the Baggies progressed into the fourth round of the competition.
The England Under-21 striker has not started for Albion since the end of October and speculation remains rife that he could leave the club during the January transfer window.
Asked about reports of an impending £18 million bid from Newcastle, Pulis said: "The first thing to say is that the valuation will be determined by the [Albion] chairman [Jeremy Peace].
"I was going to play Saido tonight but he's not been well. He's picked up a bug that [Rickie] Lambert and a few other players have had over the last few weeks, so we've given him a miss. But we want to keep Saido if we can.''
Salomon Rondon had not scored for nearly three months, but the Venezuelan striker secured a fourth-round home tie against Peterborough with a cool 52nd-minute finish.
It was only his fourth goal since joining from Zenit St Petersburg for an Albion club record fee of £12m and Pulis admitted Rondon has struggled to cope with the demands of the Barclays Premier League.
"Salomon's going to be a very good player,'' Pulis said. "He started well and he's missed chances he would say he should score normally. But he's found it difficult, the intensity of every game.
"Every game in the Premier League is so intense, whereas the countries he's played in before have not had that intensity. So we have to be patient. The players love him because he works so hard and he's such a genuine kid.
"You could see by the celebration how much they think of him and how pleased they were that he got the goal.''
Bristol City's cup exit means they can now focus all their energy on the battle to survive in the Sky Bet Championship.
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The Robins are currently in the relegation zone and caretaker manager John Pemberton, who has been in charge since Steve Cotterill's dismissal last week, believes his players will benefit from playing West Brom.
"There was not a lot in it and I thought it was quite tight, but their experience told in the end,'' Pemberton said. "I said to the lads at the end of the game that if you want to get out of the position we're in and you've got to show some discipline then you want to take a leaf out of their book.
"They're so well organised out of possession and they don't make mistakes. They had one chance and it ends up in the back of our net.
"We've had a go in both of the games and we can take a lot of positives from them, but I'm not sure we did enough to win in the end.''