Foster insists 'talented' Albion are in no danger

West Bromwich Albion 0 Fulham 0
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The Independent Football

Given that neither of these teams has ever started a Premier League season slower than this, their managers Roy Hodgson and Martin Jol both struck a predictably cautious note after a result that did neither any favours. From Ben Foster, though, a player who has suffered relegation with Watford and Birmingham, the news for Albion fans was upbeat.

At the end of a good afternoon for goalkeepers, he made no bones about it: "We'll be absolutely fine. We have plenty of talent in this team to avoid the drop. Realistically, we have to be looking towards 10th and 11th places. That's our true position."

Both keepers did much to keep a low-key game stalemated – Foster with a tremendous double intervention to deny John Arne Riise and Bryan Ruiz late on, and Mark Schwarzer, who capped some assured handling with a fine save from Peter Odemwingie when he was clean through. That said, the woodwork was struck three times and Albion's last line of defence was grateful that assistant referee Sian Massey detected Pajtim Kasami's fractionally premature run into an offside position before beating him early on.

Foster's optimism will probably only be justified if Odemwingie can rediscover his sharpness of last season. His side were poor in a first half controlled by Fulham and more potent when the striker was pushed up front in a 4-4-2 line-up. Now he has to show he can beat second-season syndrome.

All Albion achieved was to inch off the bottom while a depleted Fulham remain the division's only winless team after a fourth draw in their six games.

Jol blooded two Premier League debutants in Orlando Sa and Zdenek Grygera but they were overshadowed by the 31-year-old top-flight new boy in opposition, Gareth McAuley – not only "a monster", according to Foster, but one "without a bead of sweat on his head".

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