BEN Foster insists he and his team-mates are ready to go the extra mile for caretaker head coach Keith Downing in today’s Hawthorns clash with Hull City (ko 3pm).
The 48-year-old assumed control of first-team affairs when Steve Clarke was relieved of his duties last Saturday evening.
And Foster says Albion’s players have this week united behind the scenes and are ready to put their bodies on the line for a man they all call a friend.
“Keith is brilliant and the lads absolutely love him to bits,” said Foster.
“He’s somebody that the lads will put 110 per cent in for.
“The fans may think that when a caretaker comes in that the lads might not put the effort in but I can guarantee that the lads will be putting in everything they’ve got.
“Keith is such a good guy and a brilliant coach.
“I know for a fact that the lads will be putting it in for him because he’s been a real good friend to us.
“He’s a guy who no-one has got a bad word to say about.
“When a head coach leaves everyone at the club has to rally.
“We’re training as hard as we’ve ever trained.
“The last few days of training have been really sharp and bright.
“The lads have come back in and we’ve all galvanised as a group.
“We’re carrying on with our business and we’ve all pulled together.
“Today is a huge game but all of our games have been recently.
“We’ve had four defeats on the bounce and for a club like us that’s not acceptable."
Downing was promoted to assistant head coach during Roy Hodgson’s reign - prior to Clarke’s arrival 18 months ago.
And Foster believes the Oldbury-born coach learnt a lot from the now-England boss.
“It speaks volumes that he was Roy’s assistant before he was Steve’s,” he added.
“I think Keith learnt a lot from Roy and I think everyone enjoyed that time.
“From the first few days of training it feels a bit like that did in terms of how Roy used to set things out.
“It’s something we know works.
“We were very successful during that time so the lads appreciate it.
“Again it’s dead easy for the lads that Deano [Kiely] is working alongside Keith.
“We know them both inside out.
“They’ve been here for a long time.
“It’s easy for the players to come into training and carry on and work hard because we know the guys who are going to be taking us on a matchday and they’re our friends.
“But I’m not saying we haven’t put the effort in previously because we have.”
Foster hopes his return to fitness will coincide with an Albion return to winning ways.
“We need to get back to winning games,"he said.
“It’s as simple as that.
“We have to be looking for a win.
“I don’t think anyone else in the group will be thinking otherwise.
“When teams see that they are in a dogfight it often brings the best out in them.
“We know we need to pick up some points and I think Christmas is a good period for us to do that.
“If we can get those wins we can hopefully move right up the table.”