Pressure off for Albion’s clash with the Hornets

Inigo Calderon collects his Player of the Season award (Photograph: Paul Hazlewood)
Inigo Calderon collects his Player of the Season award (Photograph: Paul Hazlewood)

Albion can take to the field knowing they don’t have to rely on a good result for survival.

With their place in the Championship for next season as good as secured, Albion can take to the field at the Amex against Watford knowing they don’t have to rely on getting a good result for their survival.

Defeat at Blackburn for Millwall on Tuesday night means that, at most, the Lions - who occupy the last spot in the relegation zone - can finish only level on points with the Albion. But Chris Hughton’s side’s much superior goal difference - 24 higher than Millwall’s - means they are effectively safe.

Albion’s boss will no doubt share the fans' relief at having ensured second-tier status in English football for the 2015-16 campaign, but he will also want to see his players continue to put in 100% effort for the last two games.

Albion are set to play a pivotal role in proceedings at the other end of the table, with their remaining fixtures coming up against two of the divisions current top-three sides.

League leaders Watford could make a return to the top flight for the first time since 2007 with a win over Albion.

But, with the game kicking off earlier than others in the division, they will be forced to wait on other results before any celebrations can begin.

It may also be the final chance for Albion fans to cheer on some of their players at home, with the futures of Craig Mackail-Smith and Inigo Calderon still unclear.

The latter was crowned Player of the Season at the annual awards dinner earlier this week, with the Basque native’s commitment and passion for the club no doubt playing a large part in the voting from fans.

Calderon has become something of a cult figure during his five years at the club, and - whatever the result - he will no doubt get a rousing reception from the Albion faithful on Saturday.