Curtis Davies was the only man at The Hawthorns unsurprised when John Hartson scored a last-minute goal in West Bromwich Albion’s deserved 1-0 win over Derby County.
Davies, the Albion central defender and captain, had a feeling that it would all come right for the Wales international striker. It was substitute Hartson's first appearance for a month and first goal since October 22.
"When Hartson came on to the pitch, I expected him to score," Davies said. "And he proved me right, even if he did leave it a bit late. We have not seen much of him of late but he has been chomping at the bit, anxious to play a part."
Hartson has been injured since he joined Albion in the summer and has seen one manager and two caretaker managers leave in weeks. Albion had lost five and won only one of the previous seven matches. Tony Mowbray, the manager, was under pressure but victory over Derby eased that.
"We cannot use that [the change of manager] as an excuse," Davies said. "After all, we have won matches and played well. We cannot blame new managerial methods as an excuse for our results.
"What is most important is the result. We have won 1-0 and, as a defender, I'd take that every week."
Even amid the intensity of a Coca-Cola Championship match, there was much talk around The Hawthorns of Ronnie Wallwork, the Albion midfield player, who was lying in a Manchester hospital after being stabbed seven times in a nightclub last Thursday night.
Davies said: "It was a shock when we went in training on Friday and heard what had happened. It is a shame for Ronnie and we, the players, send our best wishes to him and his family at this time."
Asked if footballers were becoming easy targets when they are socialising, Davies added: "There are people who think players are arrogant and maybe some, a few, are. But some people have a different idea of how they like to have a night out.
"But there we were in training, moaning about this and that, and then we find out about Ronnie. It puts it all into perspective."
Mowbray believes that Wallwork will make a full recovery and will be able to revive a playing career that has taken him from Albion to Barnsley on loan. Wallwork was stabbed in the hand, stomach and back and underwent extensive surgery as a result.
Mowbray said: "The players have been very, very concerned, as has everyone at the club. I understand he was in the operating theatre for five or six hours but we have been in regular touch with his family who inform us he is now sitting up in bed and is going to be fine. It is too early to say what his future will be at this club."