Club News

Anichebe hoping for derby spark

Striker relishing West Midlands challenge after many Merseyside battles

VICTOR Anichebe is relishing the chance to swap Merseyside rivalry for a West Midlands battle this weekend as he looks to make his mark at Albion.

The 25-year-old striker could have been lining up for Everton against Liverpool on Saturday – a fixture he never won in the nine he played during his time at Goodison Park.

But, following his summer move to the Black Country, he is now hoping his first derby victory comes in the white-hot atmosphere of Monday’s Hawthorns clash with near-neighbours Villa (ko 8pm).

“Derbies are always fun; you can see the banter between the fans and the rivalry,” said Anichebe.

“You can’t beat the atmosphere.

“You look at derbies in different countries and they are not the same as in England.

“They are always nice to play in.

“They stir me up and help raise my game.

“I always enjoyed playing against Liverpool for Everton.

“It means so much to the fans and the atmosphere filters down into the players and makes you try that extra bit more.

“It pumps up your adrenalin even more.

“You can’t hide in a derby match, even if you’re nervous beforehand.

“The main thing is to focus on doing the right things like in any other game.

“You can’t get over-excited because that can lead to crazy tackles and red cards.

“We’re not going to over-hype things; it’s a game between two good teams and we’ll both go out to give our best.

“I’m looking forward to it.”

The Nigeria international admits he is still getting to grips with life at Albion, after moving from the club he grow up with.

And he has thanked the coaches and senior pros who are helping him make the transition, as he aims to bag his first goal for the club against Paul Lambert’s men.

“Hopefully I can get my first derby win – and my first goal for the club,” Anichebe added.

“It would be a great time to get it!

“But I’m still new here; I’ve only played around five games so far.

“I’m still getting used to the whole set-up.

“But I’ve got good coaches and good senior pros here who I’ve been talking to try and adapt quicker to the way we play here.

“It’s only early days and hopefully I can kick on from here.

“I don’t worry about the goals because I think anyone who knows me around the league knows I put in good performances and I chip in with goals.

“So, not scoring yet doesn’t really worry me.

“I’ve had good performances against Manchester United and others.”