05:00 11th September 2013
Right-back also eager to make amends and end Craven Cottage hoodoo
BILLY Jones has praised the club for delivering the summer signings he believes will help Albion get back to their hoodoo-breaking ways – starting at Fulham on Saturday (ko 3pm).
Last term the Baggies made their best start to a top-flight season since the 1953/54 campaign, secured their first Barclays Premier League win over Chelsea, and pulled off their first league double over Liverpool for 46 years.
Now Jones is eager to end the spell that has prevented Albion winning in seven attempts at Craven Cottage in the Barclays Premier League.
“The new boys have looked really good in training,” he said.
“You can see all the qualities there.
"And fair play to the club; they have made some great signings which are only going to help the squad.
“The squad, with Zolly and George coming back from injury looks really strong now.
“As a group we just want to kick on now and get that first win as soon as possible and find that consistency we showed at times last year.
“It will be exciting to see the new boys in action and I think they are really wanting to impress from the get go.
“We’re all raring to go after the international break and want to shake that Craven Cottage hoodoo.
“Hopefully we can start picking up points and go into the next international break in a much better position.”
Albion head to the West London outfit on exactly the same weekend as last season, with Jones looking to lay to rest the ghost of conceding a crucial penalty in a 3-0 defeat.
“It was one of the first games under the new gaffer and I was desperate to impress,” added Jones.
“It didn’t exactly go to plan; we had Pete [Odemwingie] sent-off early and weren’t playing particularly well up until that point.
“At 1-0 down you’ve always got a chance but then I made the schoolboy error of giving away a penalty a minute before half-time to make it 2-0.
“It was a massive knock because you end up writing the headlines that the penalty meant there was no coming back for us.
“It’s déjà vu really because we go there this season on exactly the same weekend as last season.
“I’m just hoping this weekend it’s the complete opposite and we produce a great team performance, I put in a good individual performance - if selected - and we win.
“I’m aware of our record down there from the players here who have played in some of those games.
“But we’ve broken a lot of bad records in my time here and hopefully we can break another one on Saturday by making it our first Premier League win at Craven Cottage.
“You know going there it’s going to be a tough game and you have to be at it as a team to get anything from the game.
“The individuals they’ve brought in in the summer are going to strengthen any Premier League team.
“I imagine they’ll be strong at home again and we need to go there, play to the best of our ability as a team, and cause an upset.”
In order to achieve that, the former Preston man believes Steve Clarke’s men must match the defensive display they put in in the goalless draw at Everton last time out on their travels.
“I think that sort of performance has been our benchmark since the day I arrived at the club,” he added.
“First and foremost we have to be defensively strong as a group and strong from the front.
“The Everton performance felt like that.
“Even when they had good possession we still looked comfortable and felt strong and solid in our shape.
“That’s down to defending well from the front and doing all the horrible running you need to do to limit chances.
“If we start with that solid shape, the goals will come.
“That’s what we’ve been working on during the international break; to be strong and solid first and foremost, and not be as open as we were against Swansea.”