PEPE Mel has described Graham Dorrans as a ‘top player’ after a turnaround in fortunes that has seen him become one of the first names on the Baggies boss’ team sheet in recent weeks.
Until last month the Scotland midfielder had not started a Barclays Premier League game since the second match of the campaign.
But he has now kicked-off six successive encounters, in which he has scored twice to help Albion collect eight vital points in their quest for top-flight survival.
And Dorrans is today likely to line-up against the Hammers – the team he scored his first-ever Barclays Premier League goal against, at The Hawthorns, in February 2011.
“There are players who, before I arrived here, weren’t playing all that much and Graham Dorrans is one of those players,” said Mel.
“He’s a player in whom I have an awful lot of trust and he brings together all of the qualities needed to be a really top player - and he really is a top player.
“When I arrived here for the first game against Everton he was actually going to start the game but he fell ill and was ill for two weeks after that.
“That’s why it’s been so difficult for him to get back in but I’ve spoken to him and it is clear that he understands what I want from him.
“He’s a player who distributes the ball very well, is technically very strong, has a good work-rate and has goals in him.”
The Albion chief also waxed lyrical about the Scot’s goal-of-the-season contender against Manchester City on Monday.
He added: “We stole possession of the ball and four or five players were involved in that phase of play; it was a very good counter and a really great finish, and also because it was scored against a goalkeeper [Joe Hart] who this summer is going to be in Brazil.”