Belfast Telegraph

Irvine: No fear of Baggies axe

Alan Irvine insists he does not fear the West Brom axe after meeting with chairman Jeremy Peace.

The Baggies head coach has thanked Peace for his support as he comes under increasing pressure from supporters.

Albion have lost their last four games and go to fellow strugglers Hull in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday.

Irvine is favourite for the sack with some bookies but, after talking with Peace, remains unconcerned.

"I spoke to the chairman after training but not about that and he didn't speak to me about that," he said.

"He was great. I went to see him about a completely different matter.

"We spent 15 minutes just chatting over different things and he was great, as he has been all of the time.

"I'm really grateful for the support he's given me.

"I understand the way things are in this job. There's a short-term culture nowadays and, if it's not Alan Pardew getting stick, as he was six or seven weeks ago, it's somebody else.

"If it's me at this time, hopefully I will be able to get to the situation Alan is in because it wasn't that long ago I was at Stoke hearing people calling for his head.

"They are such fine margins. We are not too far away from getting good results.

"I don't think anybody who has been at the last two games can think we are miles away from getting a good result.

"We need some goals."

The Baggies are 16th in the table, two points above the relegation zone, having won just one of their last nine games and Irvine knows it is his turn in the spotlight.

"I think we have all be under the microscope," said the 56-year-old, who is without injured captain Chris Brunt for the trip to the KC Stadium.

"I have certainly been there at the start of the season when it was very much on me and people were questioning the appointment.

"We came through that and everybody thought I was great, but I said at that time that if we lost a few games then they would probably think I was hopeless again.

"That's the way it goes. Is it on me again now? It hasn't been but it might be at this moment.

"Other people have been subjected to attention and criticism then. It was only last week I was defending Arsene Wenger, which was bizarre."

One thing that has not helped the Baggies during their recent poor run is that Saido Berahino seems to have lost his killer touch in front of goal.

He has now gone five games without finding the back of the net, but Irvine has backed the 21-year-old to rediscover his predatory instincts.

''We have asked a lot of a young player. He had a very good start to the season, there was a lot of interest in him and a lot of talk about him," he said.

''There's been a lot of focus on a young player and he has handled it well overall but I don't think anyone would have been surprised to see Saido dropping off a little bit, which is what has probably happened.

''I believe he will come back, he's a good finisher and I really believe the goals will come again.''

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