Club News

Downing's rallying call to fans

Caretaker boss hoping Baggies can build on change of momentum against Newcastle

KEITH Downing has called on the fans to create a wall of noise as his side look to build on a change of momentum against Newcastle tomorrow (ko 3pm).

The caretaker boss feels the 15th-placed Baggies are beginning to turn the corner after ending a run of four successive defeats with three straight draws.

And he hopes his men can deliver a first win in ten against an eighth-placed Magpies team, who have won seven in their last ten league outings.

“We’ve stopped the rot in terms of four straight defeats but we’re fully aware that draws won’t be enough and we’ve got to make sure we turn them into wins,” said Downing.
“For me personally it’s been about getting through these games with my reputation still intact and the club slightly recovering.

“I’d have loved three straight wins – and would have sat here proud.

“At the moment we’ve turned the corner slowly but there is still a lot of work to be done.”

In his first game in charge the Baggies turned around a disappointing first-half performance to draw 1-1 with Hull at The Hawthorns – and he is now looking to make the most of home advantage.

“In the Hull game we didn’t produce in the first half,” he added.

“I think that might have been down to the shock at the start of that week, which I’ve said before, and I think was the case.

“This time we have to make sure we start well and get the crowd behind us.

“They’re willing us to do well but equally, if you’re sitting there and the team’s not performing, they’re not going to cheer you – and I understand that.

“It’s a period of time, going into the second half of the season, where we’ll need all the support we can get.

“We’ve got a very difficult game against a team that have won seven out of the last ten.

“But I believe we can turn this little bit of momentum into wins – and that’s the most important thing.”

The two sides last met a little over a month ago when United took the spoils 2-1 thanks to a Moussa Sissoko wonder strike.

Now Downing is looking to turn the tables on Alan Pardew’s men.

“We played them six weeks ago, so it’s quite a short turnaround since we played them,” he said.

“They’ve got some strengths and we all know about their players, particularly the front part of their team.

“Cabaye produces defence-splitting passes, they have Sissoko, and the French contingent are a dangerous set of players.

“Equally we realise we can hurt them in other ways and I think they might have looked at us in recent games and gone ‘they’re starting to pick up a bit of form’.

“We have to make sure we use our home advantage.

“I want the players to continue the positivity around the place and the support for each other.

“Everyone is right for each other and their togetherness has been amplified in the last two weeks.

“So, I want them to continue that positivity and play on the front foot and create chances.

“We’ve played two up in the recent games and that has given us a little bit more of a threat.

“I simply want the players to be positive in the game.”