Club News

Dawson taking things in his stride

Centre-half unfazed by Arsenal task as he hopes to keep place

CRAIG Dawson insists he will not be fazed by facing Champions League-chasing Arsenal on Sunday (ko 1.30pm) after passing one of the toughest tests of the season against Andy Carroll.

The Baggies centre-half recorded his first Barclays Premier League clean-sheet of the campaign alongside Jonas Olsson at the heart of defence in Saturday's 1-0 win over West Ham.

And, with Gareth McAuley expected to be fit for the Emirates Stadium trip after missing the last two games with a calf problem, Dawson will be hoping to keep his place in Pepe Mel’s starting XI.

“Against West Ham I think we defended from the front, Saido and Sess worked hard pressing them,” he said.

“It was a great clean sheet for the team and for the management staff as well.

“It was obviously a difficult game but I think everyone worked hard and in every area we matched them, if not bettered them.

“It was a great team performance.

“Carroll’s a tough opponent but Jonas and I handled him well, worked together as a partnership, and did really well.

“I asked him for his shirt afterwards and he took mine as well.

“It’s obviously massively important to get a clean sheet as a defender.

“I think on Saturday it was the all-round performance from everyone. Even the people on the bench came on and did their job.

“Most importantly, the fans did their job because they were unbelievable.

“In the last 10 minutes, with the previous two home games, it was getting a little bit nervy but the fans cheered us on and pointed us in the right directions, literally, into the corner!

“A big thank you to them.”

The Baggies are not yet mathematically safe but a win against the Gunners would guarantee their place among England’s elite next term.

If results elsewhere go in their favour over the weekend Albion may need less – but, whatever they require, Dawson insists they will remain focussed in the final three games.

“There are obviously three games to go now and nine points up for grabs, we want to finish as high as we can and get as many points as we can,” he added.

“We’ll be preparing, as always for Arsenal, and working hard on the training pitch to get the best possible result at the weekend.

“It doesn’t matter who you’re playing - home or away - you prepare well, work hard on the training pitch, and you can get a result.

“We’ve got a great squad and a bit of confidence, we’re in a good run at the moment, and the fans are right behind us.

“So we’ll go there looking to perform well.

“Confidence is high, we’re on that run now so we’ve just got to keep it going for the last three games and finish it off well.”