And Downing explains Long absence
KEITH Downing hailed the performance of strike duo Matej Vydra and Zoltan Gera in today’s 1-1 draw at Tottenham, insisting they showed what the Baggies have been missing.
In the absence of the injured Shane Long (calf), on-loan Udinese hitman Vydra was handed his full Barclays Premier League debut and looked more like the player who fired 22 Championship goals for Watford last term.
Gera made his first start after recently returning from an 11-month knee injury lay-off and got 77 minutes under his belt.
And the pair proved a constant menace to the Spurs defence.
Downing said: “Shane’s got a slight calf problem.
“He had a tightening of the calf in training so we took him out of things.
“He’s down here and we’ll see how he goes for Saturday.
“I thought Gera and Vydra were a constant thorn in their side.
“They were good on the counter-attack and Matej’s a little bit disappointed he didn’t take one of the chances.
“But he’s looking like we know him from last year at Watford.
“He’s now starting to get some confidence and belief in his own performance and I thought him and Gera were good.”
The caretaker boss also admitted it was another big psychological hurdle for 34-year-old Gera to overcome.
“It was absolutely a big deal for him,” added Downing.
“He’s gone through a horrific time with his knees.
“He is a top person in terms of professionalism and being infectious around the place.
“It’s great to have him back in the squad and he showed today what a quality player he is.
“For himself he had to get that game time to show he’s back up to full speed.”