STEVE Clarke has highlighted the vital role Boaz Myhill has played in Albion’s impressive seven-game run.
The Wales international had big boots to fill when Ben Foster was ruled out for up to 12 weeks after injuring his right foot in the second game of the season at Everton.
But the former Hull keeper has grabbed his chance with both hands.
Myhill was rock solid in chalking up his third clean sheet in six matches against Crystal Palace as Clarke’s side made it just one defeat in seven against the rock-bottom Eagles.
“Boaz made a couple of really good saves on Saturday,” reflected the head coach.
“Even last season, Ben knew he had to work hard and be on top of his game because Boaz is an accomplished international goalkeeper.
“He’s shown that since we lost Ben in the second game of the season and defensively we’ve been strong and solid.
“To achieve that, you need to have a good goalkeeper.
“With the exception of the game at Liverpool, when some of their finishing was sublime, I think Boaz can be really pleased with his contribution this year.”
When quizzed by the media about who would play in goal when Foster is fit, Clarke replied: “We’ll have to wait until Ben’s back and then we can start talking about these things.
“I’m not going to go down the line of speaking about Ben coming back to put pressure on Boaz etcetera.
“At the moment, Boaz is my goalkeeper and he’s doing a fantastic job. Everybody’s really happy with him.”
Clarke claimed it was Albion’s experience of knowing how to win games at Barclays Premier League level that saw them negotiate a difficult afternoon against last season’s Championship play-off winners.
The former Chelsea defender granted Shane Long his first league start in two months against Palace and he reckoned the 90 minutes will have helped the striker in his quest to get back up to speed.
“Saturday will have done Shane the world of good,” added Clarke.
“He’s made a good contribution when he’s come off the bench this season.
“But it hasn’t been easy for Shane. He’s had a few niggling injuries.
“He’s also been away with the Irish which disrupts the rhythm.
“In fact, I think this season’s been a little bit disruptive for all of our internationals because they’ve had matches in September and October and now they have to go away again in November.
“It’s been difficult for them, but I was pleased with Shane’s effort. He gave me exactly what I thought he would.”