Defender pleased to reach a century
ALBION defender Craig Dawson is poised for his 100th Premier League appearance for the Baggies on Monday.
And the central defender-turned-full-back would relish a repeat of the previous Hawthorns clash against Burnley when he scored the first of his six top-flight goals for the Stripes.
“I would settle for that again on Monday,” he says. “But I don’t think my scoring record is anything to shout about. Six goals? I don’t think that’s particularly good and it’s one of the areas I want to improve on.”
Dawson has always had a handy eye for goal scoring twice on his debut for the England Under 21s for whom he enjoyed a striker’s rate of six in 15 appearances in total while earlier in his career scoring in three successive games for Bolton while on loan.
But one of the Club’s most hard-working and dedicated professionals is approaching the milestone in a typically low-key manner.
Dawson avoids the spotlight wherever possible although he takes justifiable satisfaction in the approach of his century.
He said: “If I am selected, then it will be a nice moment and when I think about the quality of defenders who have been at the club while I have been making my way and trying to get established, it’s naturally very pleasing.
“You look at ‘G-Mac’, Jonny Evans, Jonas Olsson, Joleon Lescott, James Chester... that’s quite a group of players to fight your way through to even get a look-in in the team.
“They have all been a help to me and played a part in helping me progress.
“It’s a long, long way from my days at Rochdale but I never stopped dreaming I could play at this level. I like to think that this is a reward for hard work and dedication. You only get to achieve your dreams with that sort of commitment.”
With players returning from injury and suspension to improve Head Coach Tony Pulis’ options, Albion fans will be hoping the team can ‘kick-on’ from the superb result and impressive performance in their last outing at champions Leicester.
Dawson urges caution but accepts the opportunity ahead.
“I think this next group of games will be seen by everybody as a chance for us to really get our season going,” he said.
“We’ve got nearly everyone fit and the gaffer has got some great options – that’s why I take nothing for granted and presume I am going to be picked on Monday.
“There will be those who expect us to get points from this group of games but this is the Premier League and the one thing I know for certain from my 99 appearances so far is that nothing is easy.
“Burnley had that terrific late win against Palace and they will not be short of confidence. We need our fans right behind us as always because you can never over-state how much difference that makes on the pitch.
“They were great at Leicester and we were pleased with our performance there which gave them what they had come for. But that is only the kind of level the lads expect of themselves every week. That is our challenge now – more of that level and above to get this season heading forwards.”