Di Matteo pleased as Baggies close in on promotion

West Brom 3 Leicester 0

The Italian maintained the level-headed attitude he has kept through Albion’s promotion charge but, with a smile, admitted an eighth successive win at The Hawthorns went a long way to securing a top-two finish.

First-half goals from James Morrison and Robert Koren sent the Black Country club on their way to all three points before the Slovenia captain wrapped up victory with his second late on.

And Di Matteo admitted: “I think we’re a step closer, yes, it was a good day for us today. It’s a great position to be in with five games to go.’’

He added: “I’m pretty happy but I think the day we actually achieve our target then I will be.”

Albion are now 12 points ahead of third-placed Nottingham Forest who can only claim a maximum of 18 from their remaining six games.

West Brom could be promoted on Monday should they see off Watford and Forest drop three or more points from their Easter double header.

Former Albion assistant and caretaker manager Nigel Pearson endured a miserable return to The Hawthorns in what was his 100th game as Leicester boss.

And after a yo-yo past, he is backing the Baggies to hold their own should they secure an immediate return to the top flight.

“They’ll do well if they see the job through and I’m sure they will,” said Pearson. “They’re a very good side and where they are on merit.”

It was Leicester’s fourth successive defeat and they now face a real battle to hold onto their play-off place. But Pearson remains resolute.

“It’s about results at the minute and unfortunately we’ve hit our worst run of the season which is disappointing, but we have a strong resolve and we know it’s in our own hands,” he said.

- IAN HOLLOWAY is confident Blackpool can gatecrash the Coca-Cola Championship play-offs after they swept aside Scunthorpe to secure a third consecutive win.

An impressive 4-2 victory moved the Tangerines to just a point behind sixth-placed Leicester to raise hopes of a sensational return to the top flight after a 40-year absence.

WEST BROM: Carson, Reid (Meite 46), Tamas, Olsson (Mattock 78), Cech, Brunt, Dorrans, Mulumbu, Morrison, Koren, Miller (Bednar 57). LEICESTER: Weale, Neilson, Morrison, Hobbs, Berner, Oakley (Adams 61), Wellens, King, Dyer (Vaughan 53), Howard, Waghorn (Gallagher 46). Referee: Darren Deadman (Cambridgeshire).

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