JAY Rodriguez is urging his Albion team-mates to seize the chance to make a Sky Bet Championship statement at The Hawthorns on Wednesday evening (ko 8pm).
The 29-year-old striker regards Derby County, who toppled Sheffield United from the table’s summit on Saturday, as one of the strongest teams in English football’s second tier.
Frank Lampard’s team undoubtedly represent a major challenge to the Baggies’ hopes of recording a sixth successive league win on home turf.
But Rodriguez relishes equally the opportunity the clash provides Albion to come roaring back from Saturday’s disappointment at Wigan.
“Derby have looked really good, they have good players, and they play really good football,” he said.
“They’re a real threat and we know the dangers that they will bring to us on Wednesday. Hopefully we can put our game to them as well.
“Three points would be a massive statement. Derby are a real strong side in the Championship and to get three points would be fantastic ahead of another game on Saturday.
“We’ve come up against all different types of teams and they all have different ways of stopping you play or putting their game towards you and it’s another test we need to overcome.”
J-Rod earned a debut England cap alongside Lampard in November 2013 and insists it’s no surprise his former Three Lions team-mate has settled into management.
“It was a great memory for me to be able to train with someone like him, a legend, was unbelievable for myself.
“You try to learn as much as you can in the small chance you get and he is a legend of football so you learn massive amounts from him.
“The knowledge he has of the game, nobody compares to that, the things he’s experienced in football.
“There’s no surprise that he’s managing and you can see how well Derby are playing at the moment.
“He’s got the team playing really well and I’m not surprised by that.”