We finally got back to winning ways last weekend, as we picked up a 3-0 victory against Blackburn Rovers at The Hawthorns.
Although this result makes it look as though we dominated the game, the visitors had the better of the play for quite long periods and it took a superb double save from Ben Foster to keep us in the lead at 1-0, before late goals from Marc-Antoine Fortune and Liam Ridgewell sealed a victory which should ensure our place in the Premier League for next season.
In my opinion, there are three players who deserve particular praise for their performance on Saturday.
I have already mentioned Foster’s double save, but his game in general was once again very impressive. He did not have a great deal to do, but the way he commands the penalty area undoubtedly gives the back four a lot of confidence and this is shown by the fact that we have kept seven clean sheets in the league this season with six games still to play – five more than throughout the whole of last season.
Graham Dorrans was handed a starting opportunity for the first time in eight games on Saturday, and showed glimpses of the form which helped him win almost all of our Player of the Season awards two years ago.
Fortune had been unfortunate to lose his place in the side on a few occasions in recent weeks, but made the most of his inclusion in the starting line-up on Saturday, producing a typically impressive all-round display up front and scoring his fifth goal of the season.
Tonight (Wednesday) sees us travel to the Etihad Stadium to take on Manchester City, who have dropped only two points at home in the Premier League throughout the entire season.
Our cause is not helped by the absence of Ridgewell and Chris Brunt due to what appear to be relatively minor injuries, with both of them in contention to return for the visit of QPR on Saturday.
These two injuries added to the long-term absence of Steven Reid, James Morrison and Zoltan Gera, along with Marton Fulop and Jerome Thomas, both of whom are fairly close to a return to the squad, means that we are very much down to the bare bones for the trip to the team currently occupying second place in the league.
This had led to the possible inclusion of one or two youth-team graduates in the squad for tonight’s game.
Right-back James Hurst, who impressed during a handful of first-team appearances last season, has been recalled from his loan spell at Chesterfield in League One, and Kemar Roofe, one of our most highly-rated young players, was left out of the reserves squad for their game at Liverpool yesterday, suggesting that he is in contention for tonight’s squad.
With a bit of luck, some of our injured players should have returned for our home game against QPR on Saturday.
We showed last weekend that we are capable of beating a side who are embroiled in the relegation scrap and are therefore desperate for points, so we should be looking to do it again this weekend.
The two games we have coming up will provide us with two different challenges, hopefully we will play well in both and pick up a couple of positive results!