And No.1 hopes Albion can push on against Swansea
BEN Foster believes his performances between the sticks in recent weeks have been up there with the best of his Albion career.
The 29-year-old keeper, who was delighted to win Zoopla’s Player of the Month Award for February, has been in fine form for the Baggies since returning from hernia problems in December.
And the England international has compared his recent displays to a spell in which he recorded six shutouts in 11 Barclays Premier League games at the business end of last season.
“I feel really, really good,” said Foster.
“I felt I played pretty well towards the end of last season and I feel similar to that now to be honest.
“It’s nice to win any award and it’s the first time I’ve won the club’s Player of the Month Award so I’m really pleased.
“We had a decent month which we kick-started with the Liverpool win and then followed up with another good result against Sunderland.
“We’ve done well and we’ve picked our season back up and now we can finish strongly.
“Even the Chelsea game was really tough for 80 minutes but we still put the effort in in the last ten, we put them under the cosh, and we looked likely to possibly nick something.
“We were quite unfortunate not to get something out of it.
“The team are playing well and that’s the main thing.
“Everyone’s looking forward to the prospect of pushing on in the last ten games of the season.”
And the former Manchester United stopper is delighted to be back at full fitness after injury problems ruled him out for over six weeks prior to the Christmas period.
“The injury was a nightmare and I didn’t really realise how much trouble hernias can cause you,” added Foster.
“It’s not just the area where the trouble is, it’s all around the middle third of your body, and you can suffer really badly from it.
“I’m getting back to full fitness now, and I sometimes have to have massages before and after training, but it’s feeling a lot better and it’s nice to feel on form again.
“It needed doing and it’s nice to finally get it done.
“It would have been better if it had happened in the close season but fortunately I had Boaz to come in like he did when I was injured.”
And Foster hopes Albion’s impressive season up to this point can provide the required confidence to escalate the club as high up the table as possible – beginning with a positive result against Swansea tomorrow (ko 3pm).
“I think everyone at the club should be proud of where we are with ten games to go," he said.
“It’s a huge achievement and the gaffer is not letting us rest on our laurels.
“The aim is to get in excess of 50 points and we’re looking mid-50s really.
“I think if you look at the run-in we’ve got, with the exception of United, Arsenal and Man City, we have games we are capable of winning.
“Everyone is looking towards around 55 points and, if possible, that last European place as well.
“If you can get to that sort of points total then you’re in with a chance of qualifying.
“We need to start that on Saturday and Swansea will be a tough game.
“They got a really good win against Newcastle and I know that is difficult to do after you’ve won a trophy.
“It’s tricky when you’ve won a trophy and you’re safe in the Premier League - but they managed to get a win straight away.
“I think they’re absolutely brilliant and sometimes they’re magic to watch.
“It’s like watching Barcelona at times, but we know that we’re a good team too, and we’ve got to try to counteract them and press them as much as they’re trying to press us.
“They work non-stop and they’re always pressing the ball, we’ll need to be doing that ourselves.”
PIC: ALBION'S No.1...Foster receives his award from Albion supporters Liz Morris, Dexter Forster, and Ollie Stanley at club's training ground