Albion star Youssouf Mulumbu today insisted his departure for the Africa Cup of Nations will not derail the Baggies’ Premier League charge.
The DR Congo midfielder believes the Baggies can keep up their flying start to the season when he leaves for up to a month in early 2013.
Mulumbu could miss up to five Premier League matches and the FA Cup fourth round when he links up with his international team-mates in mid-January.
“I’ve checked the table and the games we’ve got and I know we can stay up there,” said Mulumbu, who has helped Steve Clarke’s men climb to fifth in the table after 11 matches.
“So, let’s work hard and see what happens.
“I’m confident in the team because we’re playing really well.
“At the beginning of the season people were saying ‘it’s only the start,’ but now we have shown we are confident on the pitch.
“We don’t make the same mistakes we did before, we play well, we create some chances, and we have Shane Long, Romelu Lukaku and Peter Odemwingie to score up front. I’m happy with that.”
Albion had hoped to keep Mulumbu for the whole season after he retired from international football for the second time last summer.
But he has since resolved his differences with Congolese football officials and now says the chance to play in the finals in South Africa is something he cannot turn down.
“I’m sad to miss West Brom games because it’s my team,” he said. “I hope when I come back we will still be in the same part of the table.
“I think it’s a great season for us and we can do something really special.
“It’s my country and I cannot let them down, I need to play for them and hopefully get through the group and maybe to the final.”
“I’m looking forward to going to the African Nations Cup but I’m looking forward to coming back and being part of West Brom’s season.”