STEVEN Reid hopes the appointment of Pepe Mel will bring a brand of football to The Hawthorns that will thrill Albion fans.
The 50-year-old Spaniard enjoys a reputation for an attacking philosophy in his homeland – having guided newly-promoted Real Betis to a seventh-place La Liga finish last season – winning 16 of their 38 games and scoring 57 goals in the process.
And Reid believes the arrival of Mel, who will observe tomorrow’s clash at Southampton (ko 3pm) from the stands, will give his team-mates fresh impetus as they prepare for the remainder of the campaign.
“I think it’s going to be exciting,” said the former Ireland international.
“The fans always want to see an attacking style of play.
“It’s an exciting time for the club.
“Hopefully we will get another lift from the appointment.
“We had a really good upturn in results in the league over the past few weeks.
“Hopefully we can kick on and build on a great Christmas and New Year period.
“We’re looking forward to the second half of the season.
“I believe the new gaffer is going to be at the game tomorrow.
“I’m sure the lads are going to want to impress him.
“They’ll all be looking to stake their claim for the rest of the season.
“I’m sure he will learn something from the game tomorrow.
“It’s good that he has plenty of time before we play Everton next Monday night.
“He will have a chance to stamp his mark on the group next week.
“We’re aiming to get another good result tomorrow at Southampton and hopefully we can go into his first game in charge on the back of another three points.”
Assistant head coach Keith Downing and goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely will remain in their current roles with the club.
Reid says the pair will play an important part in Mel’s transition to English football as he looks to establish his own style of football with the Baggies.
“We’ve had a good run during the time we were without a head coach but it’s great that we now have someone in charge,” he added.
“We were unbeaten during that period so we were left in good hands and we’re in good shape going into the New Year.
“Keith and Dean have been magnificent.
“They’ve been a big part of the club for a number of years now.
“We’re pleased they’re staying involved because they’ve been important over the last few weeks.
“They deserve massive praise and credit for the job they have done on an interim basis.
“They steadied the ship well and they’re passing the baton on to the new head coach and hopefully we can kick on again.
“We’ve gone from strength to strength over the past few years and they have played a big part in that.
“They will be able to help the new man along the way.
“He’s coming to a different country and to a new club so it’s important that he has people around him who tell him little bits and pieces about the club and the players.
“It’s useful that he will have a couple of staff already at the club who can show him the ropes.”