CRAIG Dawson is preparing for his 200th performance for the Baggies this weekend convinced a thrilling second half of the season beckons.
“Daws” is once again relishing his partnership with Ahmed Hegazi at the centre of defence which has played such a key role in the current six-match unbeaten sequence.
Their next mission will be to blunt the Rotherham attack as Albion endeavour to make it four away wins in a row, a feat not managed since the closing chapter of the 2008 Championship title triumph.
And after that victory at Sheffield United on Friday night, Dawson reports on a buoyant dressing room relishing the promotion battle that is up ahead.
“The Championship is a division that just never lets up,” he says. “It’s game after game and they are all tough especially as everyone wants to knock over a team that was in the Premier League the previous season.
“But I think we have established our position among the contenders now and we want to kick on. That was an important win for us at Sheffield United because they were in good form and they are a difficult opponent especially at Bramall Lane.
“We fought our way into the game and then controlled the match over the second half. I think the result was important because it set out a marker. That’s what we are capable of and that’s the level we feel we are capable of.
“The Championship is going to test us and there are going to be lots of thrills and spills between now and the end of the season. It could turn out to be a bit of a thriller. But I think we have shown the rest of the division now that we are up for it and ready for the battle.”
Dawson has now been at The Hawthorns since 2010 - although he was immediately loaned back to Rochdale on signing from Spotland - and had to be patient to establish himself in a squad which contained legendary defensive stalwarts Jonas Olsson and Gareth McAuley.
But he’s assumed their mantle now having become the rock solid senior figure in the central defence following a three-year stint as a somewhat reluctant right-back.
“I have always felt centre-half was my strongest position and the one I enjoyed playing most,” adds Dawson.
“Those years at right back were a good education for me and they help expand my game. It was a chance to play in the first team at Premier League level.
“But I’m really enjoying the role now.
“Ahmed and I have complemented each other’s games from the moment we came together and at the end of last season we showed what we can do. He’s a very experienced and reliable lad to have alongside - hopefully he thinks the same about playing next to me!”