Fit-again Thomas targets goals

The Baggies lost their opening two Premier League matches despite

spirited performances against title-chasing duo Manchester United

and Chelsea. Thomas was forced to watch both games from the

sidelines with a groin injury but returned to the fold in Tuesday

night’s Carling Cup clash at Bournemouth. The former Arsenal winger

was one of the standout performers in a 4-1 win at Dean Court and

is now eager to help Albion get off the mark in the Premier League.

“I think what most people have made [of our games so far] is that

we have been unlucky in both games to come away without anything,”

he said. “But that is the nature of the Premier League, especially

when you’re playing the top teams. “Hopefully me scoring goals and

setting up goals is what I can take into the first team and into

the Premier League, which is what is going to get points on the

table.” Thomas opened the scoring on the south coast, ghosting down

the left flank and finishing neatly in the seventh minute.

Marc-Antoine Fortune’s brace and a Simon Cox effort helped West

Brom secure a convincing victory and progress to the third round.

Thomas was replaced at half-time seemingly with Sunday’s match

against Stoke in mind and the winger believes he will be fit to

feature. “I have been supporting the lads as much as I can and now

it is good to be back out there,” he said. “It was nice to score. I

wanted to start the game sharp and we all know how hard these games

can be, especially if you don’t start right. “So it was important

we took the game to them and it was nice to get the early goal. “It

was a comfortable win in the end.” He added: “I feel ready to get

back in the side, especially with an extra day’s training this week

with the game being on Sunday. “I am ready to get back involved in

the squad and hopefully get some points on the table in the Premier

League.” The result ended Hodgson’s Carling Cup hoodoo, having only

previously won a single match in the competition since 1997. West

Brom, by comparison, have faired much better and reached the

quarter-final stage last season. While Thomas admitted achieving a

similar feat this term would be nice, he was philosophical about

the competition’s importance. “Being realistic, it is not [huge] in

the grand scheme of things,” he said. “Staying in the Premier

League is the number one priority as it was last season and is this

season. “But, especially with the squad we’ve got, it is important

to get more players game time – i.e. today me, [Graham] Dorrans,

Cox and Fortune got two good goals. “The back four did well with

the new signings coming in so we’ve probably got a good squad for

it and it is definitely good to get as far as we can.”