Bryan Robson admits that his past successful survival experience with Middlesbrough has played a big psychological factor in helping West Bromwich Albion's bid to beat the drop.

Sunday's third win in four games against Everton has steered Albion to within touching distance of safety. But, with a tougher fixture schedule than their rivals, the Albion boss knows it is all now simply a question of keeping the faith - just as Robson did with the help of Terry Venables at Boro four years ago.

"Sunday's victory was massively important,' said Robson. "I always wanted to get into a position where, if other teams lose and we win, then we go above them and we've now done that.

"It gives us half a chance, but everybody has to keep their feet on the ground as, on paper, we've got the hardest run-in.

"When you look at where we were just after New Year when we were eight points behind, we knew we couldn't afford the gap to get any bigger.

"But I was also sure, if the lads kept playing at the performance level they were at, that we'd get a few breaks and our fortune would turn.

"I was in that spot in my final year at Middlesbrough when, although we weren't actually bottom, we were eight adrift of safety at Christmas. But we ended up staying up in comfort, by eight points, and it's all about having enough belief."

The big tonic for Robson and his assistant manager, Nigel Pearson, is that this relegation battle with the Baggies is all their own work, with no need for the assistance of any Venables-type figure.

"The boys have got confidence," said Robson. "They are no longer completely dominated by teams and for me the perfect example of that was at Chelsea.

"We only lost 1-0, and I still keep looking at Geoff Horsfield's 'goal'. It was never offside and, if that put us one up, it would have made things interesting.

"Even in the last 15 minutes we put Chelsea on the back foot and Jose Mourinho went really defensive against us. That shows the way the lads have taken things on board.

"They're concentrating a lot harder in training which is starting to be reflected in our matches."

The current level of team spirit flooding through The Hawthorns was significantly topped up yesterday when club captain Darren Moore signed a new contract.

The big defender, 31 later this month, had been widely expected to team up again with former Albion manager Gary Megson at Nottingham Forest.

But, despite the lure of regular first-team football for a player who has so far failed to break back into the Baggies first team after injury, Moore has pledged his future to Albion.

Following in the footsteps of Paul Robinson, who signed a new deal the previous day, Moore has put pen to paper on a similar two-year deal, with a further year's option in the club's favour, to keep him at The Hawthorns until June 2007.

"Darren had his troubles with his knee when I first came to the club," said Robson. "But since then he's shown good character around the place as club captain.

"He's always got a smile on his face and it's good to have people like that around.

"He's been a good servant to the club, he's one of the fans' favourites and I'm sure he'll do a good job for us."

Moore, signed by Megson from Portsmouth for £750,000 in September 2001, won his place in Albion folklore as part of the mean back three which set a new club record of 27 clean sheets in a season en route to promotion three years ago. And, once he had returned to reclaim his first team place midway through the season, he was also a key part of last year's return to the Premiership.

"I'm chuffed," said Moore, who was born just down the road from The Hawthorns. "Ever since I've been at the club it's been a great period in my career.

"I'm delighted to extend my stay and try to see West Bromwich Albion established as a Premiership football club. n Middlesbrough striker Mark Viduka has been told to prepare himself for the start of next season after being ruled of the current campaign with a hamstring injury.

The 29-year-old Australia international lasted just 11 minutes of his comeback game at Crystal Palace on Saturday after 17 matches on the sidelines with hamstring and back injuries, and scans since have revealed a recurrence of the hamstring problem.

Viduka, who has started just 18 games and played two more as a substitute since his £4.5 million move from Leeds to the Riverside Stadium last summer, will not figure again this season.

Manager Steve McClaren said: "Mark has suffered a recurrence of his hamstring problem. It is hugely disappointing for Mark and the club, but he will not play again this season.