Relegation battle

Delap focus means extra training for Baggies

April 2, 2009
By Soccernet staff

West Bromwich Albion defender Shelton Martis has revealed that the Baggies squad have been putting in extra training to try to cope with the aerial threat posed byRory Delap's ahead of Saturday's relegation battle against Stoke City.

Matis, who has forced his way into the West Brom side in recent games, knows that if the Premier League's bottom side are to have a chance of escaping relegation the must get a result against Stoke at the Hawthorns and nullifying Delap could be crucial in achieving that.

Delap's throws have been a potent weapon for Stoke in their first season in the Premier League, and Matis revealed: ''We are doing a lot of training on trying to combat what Rory Delap can do with his throws, and I mean a lot. It has been a big weapon for Stoke.

''It's about being in the right position so you can head it away when it comes into the box. We really have to make sure we are ready to deal with it. We will discuss it a lot more in training before Saturday's game and work hard to try to cut out the threat.''

Martis went on loan to Doncaster earlier in the season and looked well down the pecking order at Albion.

But he has formed a solid partnership with Jonas Olsson at the heart of the West Brom defence in the draws with West Ham and Bolton Wanderers, in stark contrast to the 17 goals conceded in the previous six league games.

Martis added: ''We have to beat Stoke, there's no other option. It doesn't bear thinking about not winning because another draw won't benefit us. Looking at the games ahead I think we could collect more points. If we win the next two games with Stoke and then Portsmouth away, we are back in it.

''It would give us a lot of confidence going into the games after that. I've got a good feeling that we could avoid relegation. Hopefully we can push on with the positives from the Bolton game where it was a good battle at the end to get a point.

''I think we could have got more points but hopefully we can get more from the next two games.''