Jay Simpson can spark West Brom revival, says Greening
West Brom captain Jonathan Greening believes loan signing Jay Simpson can repeat the impact made by Kieran Richardson during their 'great escape' four years ago.
Tony Mowbray's side go into their FA Cup third-round replay at Peterborough on Tuesday rock-bottom of the Premier League after derby rivals Aston Villa condemned them to a 2-1 defeat on Saturday.
But one highlight for Albion was the full debut of Arsenal youngster Simpson, who put in a lively stint up front at Villa Park. And Greening believes the 20-year-old can repeat the heroics which then Manchester United winger Richardson performed during the club's miraculous survival of 2005.
Albion were bottom at Christmas that season but after Richardson arrived on loan from Old Trafford they engineered a last-day escape, with the winger scoring three vital goals in the run-in.
Greening said: "Kieran came in at the right time and was exceptional for us. He was probably one of the main reasons we stayed up that year.
"If Jay can have an effect like that then great. He's got a little bit of skill, a lot of pace and hopefully he'll get a goal early doors and will go on and be a good player for us.
"There is a spark and something different about him."
Simpson is set to keep his place at London Road as Albion look for a win to set up a home clash with Burnley or QPR in round four.
The youngster scored in the competition while on loan at Millwall last season and has targeted a win to kick-start another survival bid this year. He said: "We will go there looking to get a place in the next round at home to a Championship side.
"Hopefully we can get to the next round.
"We've got a game on Tuesday and now we have to focus on that. Hopefully we can play well and build from there. If we can go from there and then pick up some points against Middlesbrough on Saturday we can climb the table."
Simpson admitted the pace of his debut against Villa took him by surprise but he remains confident of making an impact for Mowbray's side. He said: "It was a great chance for me to show that I am capable of playing at Premier League level.
"I was disappointed not to get the result but from my point of view it was a good run-out. I think I contributed to the side but all in all we deserved to get at least a draw.
"It's a lot quicker than I am used to but I really enjoyed it. It was the first 90 minutes I've had under my belt for quite a while. There was a great derby atmosphere in the stadium and I was pleased to play."