Keeping West Brom up would be my greatest escape – Sam Allardyce

Mark Walker, PA
·2-min read

Sam Allardyce would rank Premier League survival with West Brom as the greatest escape act of his 30-year managerial career.

Allardyce, in charge of his 12th different club, rescued Saturday’s opponents Crystal Palace in similar circumstances at the end of the 2016-17 season.

The Baggies are eight points from safety and remain second from bottom, the same position they were when Allardyce was appointed in December.

“I think probably (this would be) the greatest because of the number of points we need compared to the other clubs I’ve been at,” Allardyce said.

“From this period of 10 games to go, it’s obviously a lot more difficult because of the amount of points we need to gain to try and get safe and keep this club in the Premier League.”

Back in 2017, Palace slipped to 19th in the table at the same stage of the season and six weeks after the former England boss had taken charge, but four successive wins helped them beat the drop.

“We probably turned more victories in at Palace than we have done here at West Brom,” said Allardyce.

“So this period was a crucial time for me, where all the new players had settled in and helped the players already here to improve the performances – and the big slip-up is too many draws (compared) to victories.

“Unfortunately we look back on those periods and say those victories really should have been achieved.

“But in the main we can only hold ourselves accountable for that because far too many chances have been missed to win a game and that’s left us in a more difficult position than we probably were at Crystal Palace.”

The Baggies have drawn four of their last eight league games, including last week’s goalless stalemate at relegation rivals Newcastle.

Saturday’s opponents Palace are eight points clear of the bottom three and when asked if it was another must-win game, Allardyce said: “Yes, of course.

“Irrespective of everything else that’s going on we have to rectify our goalscoring ability.

“Had we done so in the last eight or nine games we would be having more than a fighting chance of staying in the Premier League.

“But that hasn’t happened and we’ve got to turn that round as quickly as possible.

“It’s a great shame, based on the level of consistent performances the players put in, and we haven’t been able to win matches because of the chances we’ve missed.”

Allardyce said winger Grady Diangana could return to the squad on Saturday after missing two games through illness.

But Robert Snodgrass is doubtful as he waits to learn the full extent of an unspecified injury sustained this week in training.