Moore calls for ‘togetherness’ at Villa Park

Darren Moore will savour the ferocious atmosphere he expects at Villa Park on Saturday but says his focus is on “the game and not the occasion”.

The 168th Albion-Villa derby will be played out with both teams pursuing promotion and the Baggies looking to close the gap on the Sky Bet Championship’s top three.

Moore is ready to leave the local rivalry to the 2,000 Albion supporters making the short trip but insists “desire” will be key to a positive afternoon. 

“It’s a special game for both teams because of its local rivalry,” he admits.

“Two teams in the Midlands, two teams operating at the right end of the Championship, so it’s an exciting game. 

“The fans have their own rivalry but for me it’s about playing the game and not the occasion. The players staying true to themselves, understanding what is expected, what we want and being able to have clear concentration levels in a high level atmosphere and playing the game that we want to be most effective in, in terms of the work that we have done this week in training.

“It’s great. You savour the atmosphere. Everything is stacked against you being the away team. It’s usually a full house. 

“We played the game up here at the start of the season and it was 2-2 and we saw two teams at it in a pulsating game, an exciting game, a wonderful game played with high tempo and energy and came out honours even.

“In a game like this, for the away team going there it is up to us to savour the atmosphere and be together, show that togetherness, that willingness, that desire to take it forward into the game because we know it’s going to be a tough game and a derby match is always a bit tasty, but that’s what we expect and what we are looking forward to.”

Albion travel the four miles from The Hawthorns to Villa Park with six wins from their last seven outings on the road - a run of results that Moore believes can only benefit his players going into Saturday. 

“Going away from home is difficult, so to have our away record is really good,” he added. “We look to continue to improve on it. 

“We know it is going to be another tough game at Villa but they are all hard and we have to consider the work that we have done this week. They are good stern opposition but again it is another challenge and a hurdle that we look forward to this season.”

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