Ismaël on raising quality, returning players & Preston test

Ismael pre-Preston.

Valérien Ismaël is targeting further success at The Hawthorns when Albion welcome Preston North End on Wednesday night.

The Baggies were rewarded for a dominant display last time out, netting three goals in the final 12 minutes to secure three vital Sky Bet Championship points against Peterborough United.

Although the boss will be without January signing Daryl Dike for the Lilywhites clash, midfielder Alex Mowatt and goalkeeper Sam Johnstone will be available again after the pair completed their three-game suspensions.

And with defender Dara O’Shea edging closer to a first-team return after playing 45 minutes during Albion’s PL2 clash with Birmingham City on Monday, Ismaël is looking forward to the boost in selection options over the coming weeks, but is fully focused on securing back-to-back home wins in B71.

Ismaël said: “We were desperate to win the last game against Peterborough.

“It was another difficult game but we stayed calm all the time, we should’ve scored earlier to get that breakthrough but we controlled the game, stayed calm and scored three goals at the end.

“The game is 90+ minutes and you have to force your destiny in every game with the performance and especially the impact we saw from the bench.  

“We were delighted with the performances from Grady Diangana and Callum Robinson, when they came in.

“Everyone wants to be part of the process to be in the squad or start the games, so you raise the quality in training, automatically you raise the quality in the games.

“But now we need to carry on, to create momentum. Every game is very important and it’s all about keeping going, keeping the pressure on and just getting the job done.

“When you see all the statistics and all the results next to the pitch or with the squad, the way to play, the young players – I think we’re going the right way.

“It’s all about winning games with the squad we have and this is what we need – to win games, to get that confidence back and to create that momentum and to get that big confidence we need to reach our purpose.

“Dara O’Shea will help us with this and we’re very happy with the improvement he’s made. He played 45 minutes on Monday and it was the first big test for him after such a long period of injury.

“He’s very happy, I spoke with him after the game and he’s fine. So the next step for him will be on Friday in another game with our U23s, another 45 minutes so it means over the week he’ll have played 90 minutes and we go from there.

“The more we can get the players back, the more we have the full squad available, the easier it will be for us to have the quality.

“To play with the best team or the best players for the game you need the challenge in training.

“Now it’s all about the next step. It was important to get confidence back, the relief from the players to get that reward and to stop the bleeding after that run without a win.

“We have enough quality in the squad to score goals and we must create momentum in a positive way to get the next win."

  • Ismaël