06:00 4th May 2013
And attacking right-back hopes he gets another chance to put Wigan to the sword
BILLY Jones hopes he can win his place back in the Albion side against Wigan today (ko 3pm), insisting he is beginning to feel more like a Barclays Premier League player.
The former Preston man is coming towards the end of his second season in the top flight and he was unfortunate not to start last weekend’s 3-0 win at Southampton after sustaining a gashed leg.
He did get on the pitch in a midfield role for the final 12 minutes against the Saints as he replaced the injured James Morrison.
But it is in his now customary right-back slot that he has impressed in recent weeks – and he hopes to reclaim it from Steven Reid against the Latics.
“It was a great team performance last week,” said Jones.
“Since I’ve come back in the team, starting with the Swansea game, I think I’ve played some really good games.
“Against Swansea, Arsenal and Newcastle they were good personal performances – but I’d rather be playing in great team performances.
“It’s nice to play well as an individual but as a team we need to keep our standards high and keep the winning ways from Southampton going now.”
He added: “I know when you play so many games in the Championship you start to wonder if you’ll ever get the chance to play in the Premier League.
“And you wonder if people just think you’re a Championship player and that’s all you’re potentially going to be.
“And at the age I was maybe people thought I wasn’t going to improve any more.
“So for me to play some really good games in the Premier League now, feel strong and feel confident, and start to feel more like a Premier League player, is a massive boost.
“And for Baggies fans and people around the Premier League to think that as well is a massive positive.
“Personally I just want to keep on improving, which I think I can, and carry on playing as many years as I can in the Premier League.”
The reverse fixture against Athletic in November highlighted the potential of Jones’ attacking capabilities from full-back.
His cross found the back of the net off Gary Caldwell for what turned out to be the winner in a 2-1 DW Stadium victory.
And, after scoring his first-ever Barclays Premier League goal in the 1-1 draw with Newcastle last time out at The Hawthorns, he is hoping he can add to that tally.
“I enjoy the attacking part of being right-back,” he said.
“I feel it is a side of the game I have improved on.
“Throughout my career I’ve very much been moved into different positions, and I feel I’ve only played as a right-back since I went to Preston.
“That was where I got told they saw right-back as my strongest position and that was where they were going to keep me.
“I enjoy the attacking side of it and hopefully I can get some more assists and some more goals – and take my chances when they come.
“To say you’ve scored a Premier League goal in your career is massive for me.
“Hopefully there is more to come.
“It was one of my best experiences in football.
“I love the defending side and the attacking side of being right-back - and I love being able to play a part in both.”