BILLY Jones believes Albion will need to keep Gareth Bale quiet if they are to record a positive result in this afternoon’s clash with Tottenham at The Hawthorns (ko 1.30pm).
The 23-year-old Wales winger ran from inside his own half to net a memorable strike in Spurs’ 1-1 draw at Norwich on Wednesday - the latest of his ten top-flight goals in a sparkling season to date.
Now right-back Jones hopes to come out on top in what he expects to be one of his toughest Barclays Premier League examinations as he goes head to head with Bale.
“His Norwich goal was right up there with the best goals he’s scored in his career and he’s hard to stop once he gets moving because he’s so quick,” said the Baggies defender.
“I think the Norwich player even took a swing at him around his midriff but he kept on going.
“He’s a great player and everyone knows how good he is.
"He’s one of the great players they have that we’ll be aware of on Sunday.
“Bale would be in my top ten players in the league and I’d have him in my Premier League dream team.
“I think most people would agree with that as he’s a match winner.
“He can be quiet in games but then he’ll go on a run and beat two or three players before producing a great ball which creates a goal or scoring himself.
“Every club wants a match winner like him.
"It’s obviously going to be a difficult game and it will be hard for us to stop them.
“But, if we’re looking to get a win, that’s what we’ll have to do.”
And the former-Preston ace hopes Albion’s home record will give his team-mates the confidence needed to overcome Andre Villas Boas' fourth-place men.
“They’ve obviously done really well and they’re a force to be reckoned with," insisted Jones.
“They’re right up there at the moment, playing really good football and I think everyone knows how good their attacking players are - but defensively they’re also very strong.
“It’s going to be a tough game but, as it's at home, we’re confident we’re able to get a good result.
“At this moment in time we need a good, positive result to kick on from and I’d imagine it’s going to be a good game.
“When we played them at the start of the season it was a game of two halves.
"In the first half they had a lot of good chances and we managed to block and stop them but then in the second half we really came into it and I feel we deserved the point - and the lads played really well that day.
“I’d imagine that after that day Tottenham will realise coming to The Hawthorns is going to be a hard game.
“I think they’ll probably make changes with two games in a week but whatever 11 they put out we know it’s going to be a tough game.”
He added: “The Premier League’s incredibly tough and there are games which can make or break the season.
“We’ve identified that and if we want to be challenging and maintain where we are within the league we need to be producing good performances and getting good results against these sorts of teams.
“We’ve identified that this and the next few games could keep us up to speed with the teams in the European places.”