West Bromwich Albion are running out of matches, running out of luck, but not running out of grit. With only five matches remaining, their Premiership status is hanging in the balance but the players believe that the issue remains in their own hands.

In truth, they would not say anything else, but the relegation battle is such that Albion can finish above Birmingham City and Portsmouth.

Albion are third-from-bottom in the table but in a worse situation than they were at this stage last season. By that rationale, they should be relegated on May 7. But since when have Albion accepted what is deemed as inevitable?

Steve Watson, the Albion defender, is convinced that the team have all the attributes necessary to finish the season in the top 17 - even though the final five matches include journeys to Arsenal, Newcastle United and Everton.

Despite Albion's failure to win any of their past eight matches, the performances have been impressive and the

confidence remains high. "We are due a break and it didn't come on Sunday [in the 0-0 draw with derby rivals Aston Villa]," Watson said.

"The Villa game all seemed to be about us and the only way we were going to get beaten was by being caught on the break because a win was what we needed and that's what we went for.

"That performance said a lot about the character of the lads because we'd had a hard run of games against the top four sides and results hadn't gone for us.

"It says a lot about the way we react in a positive manner and if we can put in five more performances like at Villa until the end of the season, hopefully we will get what we deserve.

"We have had a lot of games this season where we have deserved to win and it hasn't happened and that's why we are in the position we are in. There is a lot of belief that we will be OK if we maintain our levels."

However, reality dictates that Albion need 12 points from their final five matches - an average of 2.4 points per match, as opposed to their average of 0.85 per match so far this season. A dramatic improvement is required.

It is a mystery how Albion have slipped into this position. They are stronger than they were a year ago and are playing better football, yet they consistently miss chances and make schoolboy errors. No team is better at shooting themselves in the collective foot.

"We've got hard games, Arsenal away, a mammoth task, Newcastle away, Everton away, but we've got to go for it now because maybe draws aren't going to be good enough and that may suit us," Watson said.

"This is going to go down to the wire and I wouldn't want to be in any other dressing-room than the one with the lads here. I think we've got the lads who can get us out of this position.

"I would rather be in our dressing-room than any others. The lads were down so far this time last season and came back to stay up, so they know they can do it.

"We all believe we can stay up. That's the main starting point. If it was a dressing-room where we've admitted defeat, it would be difficult but it's not like that at all.

"Most of the lads have been through this before. I think we will come out on top, but we've got to turn performances into results."