Sam Allardyce believes Black Country derby passions can stoke West Brom’s fire and finally take their Premier League points tally into double figures.
Albion make the short trip to Wolves on Saturday for the first Black Country derby since February 2012.
It was a derby that will live long in West Brom memories with Peter Odemwingie scoring a hat-trick in a thumping 5-1 Molineux win.
How Albion fans would love a repeat of that performance with the Baggies on only eight points from 17 games, six adrift of safety, and yet to stir under Allardyce.
“Derbies are about your passion and capabilities to play the game, and not the occasion,” said Dudley-born Allardyce, who has been keen to play down his boyhood allegiances to Wolves since his arrival at the Hawthorns last month.
“If the occasion overwhelms you then you can’t get a performance. But if you can use the derby to stimulate you, then you will get opportunities.
“We want to have the bragging rights and make our fans feel better on top of what we’re suffering at the minute, a little bit of joy during this period.
“Another three points would make such a difference, not just against our local rivals but it would take us to 11 points – double figures. We want to break the barrier, let’s see if we can.”
Allardyce, a master of winning relegation battles in a long and colourful career, has failed to generate an upturn in West Brom’s fortunes since succeeding Slaven Bilic.
Albion have lost three of his four league games – sobering home defeats of 3-0, 4-0 and 5-0 – with just a solitary point taken in a 1-1 draw at Liverpool.
West Brom also suffered the embarrassment of losing to Sky Bet League One Blackpool in the third round of the FA Cup last weekend.
“You hope the team hits some top form by the fact a new manager walks in,” Allardyce said.
“We thought that might be happening a little bit after a great performance at Liverpool, but it’s certainly slipped back to what has been going on for most of the season.
“We’ve tried not to make too many changes but that hasn’t worked.
“The solutions are the players not making the mistakes we’ve been doing and introducing some new players to improve us.”
Wolves themselves are in poor form as Nuno Espirito Santo’s have gone five league games without a win.
But Allardyce remains more focused on West Brom’s troubles than his neighbours’ difficulties, saying: “We need to lift our performance to take advantage of any team that is not quite on top of their form.
“We’ve had a sticky patch for far too long and need to change our attitude to our performance first.
“We need to create and score more goals and at the oter end, keep clean sheets.
“It sounds very simple, but it’s very difficult for us to do at the moment.”