West Brom boss Slaven Bilic has ordered his players not to panic as they attempt to secure promotion to the Premier League.
The second-placed Baggies have taken just two Sky Bet Championship points from the last 12 on offer either side of lockdown, and have only one to show for the efforts against Birmingham and Brentford since the resumption.
However, as they prepare for Wednesday night’s trip to Sheffield Wednesday, head coach Bilic has moved to steady the ship.
He told the club’s official website: “This remains no time to panic or be alarmed.
“But it is also not a time to say, ‘Everything’s cool’. There will be pressure and the players have got to cope with that. They should not be afraid of it. They should turn it into a positive.
“Will it be easy? Of course not. Is it difficult? Of course it is. We should not have a problem admitting that.
“But one way they can handle the pressure best is by giving maximum effort and that something extra that you need when you are chasing something big.”
Should West Brom fail to address their disappointing run of form, Nottingham Forest are among the clubs poised to take advantage having leapfrogged Fulham at the weekend following victory over lowly Huddersfield.
Forest entertain Bristol City, whose play-off hopes have been dented by a seven-game winless run, sitting seven points adrift of the Baggies, but refusing to give up on automatic promotion.
The top two may have headed into the latest round of fixtures with clear water separating them from the chasing pack, but with a spread of just eight points covering Forest in fourth and Swansea in 10th following the weekend programme, the race for the play-offs is hotting up too.
Derby went level with seventh-placed Preston as a result of Saturday’s 2-1 win over Reading, their third on the trot, and while they are only three points adrift of the top six, they face six of the seven teams currently above them in their final seven fixtures.
Ahead of the trip to Deepdale, defender Jayden Bogle told the club’s official website: “We are competing against the top teams in the league in our games right now and that’s what we want to be doing. To be successful, you have to stand up against these teams and fight against them.”
At the other end of the table, Huddersfield will attempt to dig themselves out of the mire at Birmingham having slipped into the bottom three following their defeat at the City Ground.
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