PETER Odemwingie hopes his omission from Nigeria’s African Nations Cup squad will help him make it a ‘special’ season for the Baggies.
The four-goal hitman was set to miss a number of Albion games in January and February on international duty at the South Africa tournament.
But he is now relishing the opportunity to help Steve Clarke’s seventh-placed outfit, who are only behind fourth spot on goal difference, get the second half of the season off to a flier.
“Albion is on a mission,” said Odemwingie, who is also looking forward to the birth of his son next month.
“We have started this season so nice and maybe we can have a great season.
“If I stay here for the extra games, it could mean a lot.
“If I'm in good form, score goals and bring points to the team, I'll be very happy at the end of the season.
“It is also a plus I can continue to be here for what could be a very special season for us.
“Even if it doesn't end up being so, we are going to give it our best shot.
“The last three weeks we have lost points but then we didn't expect to start so strong and seventh is a good position to be in.
“We can stay close to sixth, for sure.
“My son will also be born around January 11, so it would have been a difficult call for me to go away with the camp, come back for one day for the birth and go again – it is my first child.”
A disappointed Odemwingie insists he was not surprised to be left out of Stephen Keshi’s squad – and admits it is likely to spell the end of his international career.
“I expected it because we have had a few issues before," he added.
“The question was there about whether I wanted to retire or not.
“I played a very good ten years from 2002 to 2012.
"It was getting there but maybe it’s happened earlier than I thought.
“I still love my country and care about the football but I already wasn’t feeling the way I would have liked to feel.
“I just had to wait for his decision because no matter what happened, if he called me today I would go and play.
“But I had to wait for his decision, so people know it wasn’t my decision not to play again.
"If the chance to play for my country presents itself, then I will speak to my dad and those close to me - then we'll see.”