Baggies must get their season back on track


Staff Writer

West Bromwich Albion will attempt to get their season back on track at the JJB Stadium tomorrow.

After picking up just one point from their last seven games, Albion are bottom of the Premier League. But with just six points separating the bottom seven sides, Baggies boss Tony Mowbray knows back-to-back victories over Wigan Athletic and then at home to Portsmouth next week would fire his side back into the pack.

He is confident that his side have the capabilities to do it.

“I personally am still positive about the season,” Mowbray said. “We have shown already we can win games back-to-back. Obviously we have to do that over the next month, win a game away and try and follow that up with a home victory. Then we are right in there with the pack of about a dozen teams.

“We must keep working hard, fighting and pick up some wins along the way, and see how the season unfolds.”

Mowbray is expecting Wigan to offer different kinds of problems to last week’s opponents Stoke City. Although, unlike the Potters, the Latics have a poor home record this season.

Albion have historically suffered against Stoke but they won on their last visit to the JJB in 2006. And while Mowbray knows that Steve Bruce’s teams are always physically strong, he is aware that in the likes of Emile Heskey, former Baggies ace Jason Koumas, Amr Zaki and Luis Antonio Valencia, the Latics do possess a fair few talented individuals.

“We are not expecting the same kind of problems as last week,” Mowbray said.

“I think Wigan try and play football differently to Stoke. Even though they have a big physical presence, they do have some very good footballers as well. It is a different game.

“We will try and look at why they have a poor home record. I saw them against Arsenal in the cup last week and against Everton on Monday.

“If there is something that we can take from why they have been struggling a little bit at home, then we will work on that and try and make life difficult for them at the weekend.

“Of course, they will see us as an opportunity to get three points and we have to make sure that, first and foremost, we make life difficult for them. Hopefully, we can exploit some of their weaknesses as the game goes on.”

Albion’s only injury concern is midfielder James Morrison, who missed the Stoke game because of a strained knee ligament. But the Scotland international is hopeful of making a recovery in time to face Wigan.

Morrison is eager to get back into action as Albion bid to close the four point gap that has now developed between them and Sunderland, who are fourth from bottom.

“That just makes the Wigan game even more important – especially as they’re one of the teams in and around us,” he said.

“Don’t get me wrong, no one’s panicking. But we’re now four points off fourth-bottom and we want to close that gap as soon as possible. We definitely don’t want it getting any bigger.

“I’ve heard we’ve already sold 3,000 tickets for Saturday’s trip. That is terrific news and we’ll need every one of those supporters getting right behind the team as we bid for our first win in eight games.”