Icy winds may be whipping in from Eastern Europe but Bryan Robson is already contemplating Albion's pre-season in flaming July.

However, their current precarious predicament in the Premiership relegation zone is playing havoc with his best-laid plans.

Robson's first pre-season in the Hawthorns hot-seat saw his charges head off to Portugal for a hastily-arranged tour after a trip to the USA was scuppered at the 11th hour.

While keeping his mind firmly focused on the job in hand, securing Albion's Premiership status, Robson is meticulously planning his blueprint for next season.

However, given Albion's travails this term, Robson's workload has doubled in size as he is being forced to produce two different schedules.

Robson possesses an unequivocal belief that Albion will be gracing the Premier-ship again in August, but it would be a gross dereliction of duty if he didn't consider the worse-case scenario.

A Championship schedule is also in the process of being prepared but is a dossier that Albion's manager will be over-joyed to consign to the dustbin.

"You have to have a Plan A and B," admitted Robson. "This is one of the most difficult parts of the job.

"It doubles your workload because you have to be looking at your preparations for pre-season next year, as the dates are going to be different.

"Pre-season games are difficult to organise, as you don't know on which dates you are going to be starting back.

"Loads of people want Premiership clubs for competitions, while other people don't.

"However, you also have to look at players to improve the team if you are going to be in the Premiership and players if you are going to be in the Football League."

Manchester United are looming on the horizon for Robson's battle-hardened troops this weekend and any tangible reward would be considered a bonus.

They have already been comprehensively swatted aside by the Carling Cup holders on two occasions this season.

United's rampant strike force breached their back line on six occasions in a Carling Cup and Premiership fixture at Old Trafford with only Nathan Ellington's header troubling the statisticians for Albion.

And with Sir Alex Ferguson's team in blistering form it promises to be a gargantuan task for Albion to manage even a point.

Robson has been able to draw solace from their last two performances against Chelsea and Birmingham even if they have only resulted in accumulation of a solitary point.

Albion's supporters met the sight of Kevin Campbell operating as a lone striker with a sharp intake of breath, but the move has been an undoubted success.

He had been the target of supporters' ire earlier in the campaign, but is enjoying a renaissance at exactly the right time as far as Robson is concerned. Supporters sometimes don't realise that early on in the season he had quite a few injury problems with his ankle.

"At the moment he is 100 per cent fit and flying," said Robson. "He is hyper at the moment you can tell round the camp how good his mood is.

"He is right up for the challenge again, just like he was last year when I brought him into the club.

"The lads are all starting to believe that we can survive again. Kevin is leading from the front."

Another of Robson's thirty-somethings, Steve Watson fully vindicated his manger's decision to drop Neil Clement and restore him to centre-half.

Watson has been sidelined with a hip complaint and his first start since January 21 was a welcome boost to Albion's chances of avoiding relegation.

Despite Watson's versatility, it is patently obvious that centre-half will be his best position during the twilight years of his career.

"Watson enjoys playing centre-half. With his experience and being a good communicator on the pitch I thought he would help Curtis Davies."

Meanwhile Robson confirmed that assistant manager Nigel Pearson would be fined after being ordered off by referee Phil Dowd during their tempestuous draw with Birmingham last Saturday.

Pearson was clearly upset by the chain of events that led to Birmingham's penalty award but Robson admitted he would be hit in the pocket like everyone else.

"Nigel will be fined for his sending-off, as it is automatic," said Robson.