KEITH Downing hopes Matej Vydra’s first-ever Barclays Premier League goal will kick-start his season.
The 69th-minute super-sub’s last-gasp equaliser in today’s 1-1 draw with Hull saved the Baggies from a fifth successive defeat.
And Downing insisted it was reward for the Czech Republic international's recent efforts on the training pitch as he strives to break into Albion’s first XI on a more regular basis.
“He’s waited a long time,” said Albion’s caretaker boss.
“He’s been persevering in training.
“He’s had a few niggles here and there and it’s a big step for him.
“That will be a massive boost for him.
“I’m pleased for him because he’s a good lad and works hard during the week.
“He took his opportunity to score very well.
“Once he gets in those one-v-one situations he is a very good finisher.
“He’s had a good couple of weeks when he’s been sharper.
“He arrived at the club without a pre-season really and he’s played a lot of catch-up in the last few months.
“Recently he’s shown he’s up to speed and shown that sharpness he’s got in front of goal.”
Downing was also delighted to see Ben Foster return to action from long-term injury with a vital double save when the Baggies were 1-0 down in the second half.
“Ben made two great saves in the second half that kept us in it,” he added.
“When he made the double save I thought that might be a key moment for us.
“I’d also like to mention Boaz Myhill, who I think has done exceptionally well for four months.
“We haven’t had to mention Ben’s name during that time.
“Ben was excellent today.”
And the Baggies coach explained Victor Anichebe and Nicolas Anelka’s absence from today’s Hawthorns encounter, with a trip to Tottenham to come on Boxing Day (ko 3pm).
“Victor’s got a slight groin issue,” he revealed.
“With Anelka, he is training again after injury and we’re getting him ready for the Christmas period.”