Mowbray's the man to save Albion

Players and supporters of Premier League's basement club keep faith in manager
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The Independent Online

The West Bromwich Albion captain, Jonathan Greening, has given his backing to manager Tony Mowbray and insisted the former Hibernian coach would be "a wanted man" if he ever left The Hawthorns. Albion are at the bottom of the Premier League at a time when Roy Keane has quit as Sunderland manager and Paul Ince appears to be under increasing pressure at Blackburn to turn results around. But Mowbray retains the support of the players and fans despite another frustrating time in the 1-1 home draw with Portsmouth on Sunday when they again failed to hold on to a lead.

Greening said: "Tony Mowbray is a top guy, a top coach and any club would want him, the style of football he plays, his passion for the game – and he would be under no pressure because he is probably a wanted guy. He is one of the best coaches I have ever worked with and he likes to play the right way and every day is enjoyable and it is a pleasure to come into work. I'd be very surprised if he gets under pressure because what he has done over the last couple of years has been fantastic.

"I've been near the bottom of the league at Middlesbrough when Steve McClaren was under pressure and Bryan Robson at West Brom the year we went down. But the gaffer is big enough to take it on the chin. He loves the game, he loves the pressure and we all want to play for him. There is no doubt about that. Everyone wants to do well for him.

"The fans have also been brilliant. They have been brilliant since I've been here. We've had some ups and downs but they've always given us 120 per cent. I am sure they love the manager just as much as the players do. No question about that."

Greening scored his first goal of the campaign against Portsmouth and is relishing being given a free role behind the main striker. He said: "I hadn't scored for a while and the gaffer is always going on about me scoring more but this role gives me more chance to get in the box and get shots in. When I play central midfield, I don't seem to get those chances. I've really enjoyed it. The gaffer is always moaning at me because I score quite a few goals in training.

"That is why he probably stuck me in there just behind Ish [Ishmael Miller]. I should have scored against Wigan as well and with two in two, I would have been flying. We played some good stuff, created some good chances and were maybe unlucky not to get the full three points. Their goal was deflected and summed up the sort of luck we are not getting at the moment. If it doesn't get deflected, it goes straight into Scotty's [Scott Carson's] hands. A second goal would have killed the game off. We had a couple of chances but it wasn't to be."

Miller is expected to be out of action for around six weeks after suffering knee ligament damage in the match. The 21-year-old striker went off after 76 minutes of Sunday's game after a collision with the Portsmouth goalkeeper David James and is awaiting the result of a scan.

Peter Crouch scored his ninth goal of the campaign for Portsmouth and is hoping his prolific partnership with Jermain Defoe will eventually earn the pair the chance to be first-choice strikers with England. He said: "I enjoy playing with Jermain and vice-versa. If you look at the way we play, he tried to set me up a couple of times on Sunday and I've been involved in a few of his goals.

"There is no competition between us but we both love scoring goals and hopefully we can continue to do that. We have got a few goals already between us and hopefully they will keep coming to the end of the season. We'd love to do it together for England. We have both got aspirations of playing for England. If we continue to perform well at club level, then hopefully we will get a chance."

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