Club News

Reid sends out warning

Baggies defender looking to avoid repeat of Rovers slip

STEVEN Reid has warned his team-mates not to rest on their laurels and fall into the trap of thinking they have arrived as a Barclays Premier League force.

The 32-year-old defender was part of the Blackburn squad that stormed to a seventh-placed top-flight finish in the 2007/08 season, only to slide to 15th spot at the close of the following campaign.

But Reid is confident Steve Clarke’s men - complemented by the right summer recruits - have what it takes to avoid a similar scenario after last term’s eighth-place success.

“Hopefully we can build on last season,” said the Baggies right-back.

“Finishing where we did shows what a good squad we had.

“So, you would hope we keep as many of the players that did well for us as we can.

“GMac [Gareth McAuley] and myself have put pen to paper on new deals and hopefully we can bring a few more players in to build on that squad because you can quite easily finish the season sixth, seventh or eighth and the following season you can be dragged into a relegation dogfight.

“Disappointingly, our form was not the best from the turn of the year and if it wasn’t for our early-season form we could easily have been sucked into the bottom half of the table.

“We can’t rest on our laurels and think we’ve arrived as a Premier League team.   

“We just have to go again next season and hopefully equal or better what we did last season.

“At Blackburn we suffered with a lot of injuries when Paul Ince came in as manager.

“I was out for most of the season, we lost David Bentley and big players like David Dunn got injured.

“If you get injuries to one or two key players in your team it affects your results – there are no two ways about that.

“We saw at some points last season how it can affect your team when you’re missing key players.

“It’s just a case of having a good pre-season getting everyone as fit as we can and, hopefully with one or two additions, build.”

The former Ireland international, who earlier this month penned a new one-year Hawthorns deal, also once again hailed the strength of character in the Baggies’ dressing room.

He added: “We have a great set of lads in the dressing room, which is part of the reason I wanted to stay at the club - I’ve really enjoyed my time.

“There are a lot of big characters in the dressing room and players that will dig each other out when need be.

“When you’re having a bad run of results in the Premier League you can’t just let it run and run, you need to get together as a group and pin down the reasons behind why things are not happening, and try to put
them right.

“And there are definitely characters in the dressing room who can do that when the time comes.”