Albion boss Steve Clarke today insisted summer signing Nicolas Anelka will not be fazed by the goal-shy start to his Albion career.
Clarke believes the Frenchman remains confident in the face of Premier League statistics this week revealing he is top of the charts for missed chances so far this season.
The 34-year-old has failed to carry his electric pre-season form into the competitive campaign and is yet to score for his new club.
But Clarke said: “Nicolas has got the experience to understand that you have these runs in football and periods where things aren’t going for you.
“If he is one of the highest for missing chances it means he’s getting in the right positions. As long as he’s getting in the right positions he will score goals.
“He trains well in the group, he works well and he shows me he’s still got a hunger and desire to play at this level. That’s the most important thing.
“He brings a lot to the group. He speaks a lot to the younger strikers in training, especially Saido Berahino, and he’s had a positive impact.
“He’s got great experience to pass on and great tips. To have somebody of that experience in your squad is good.”
An Opta table revealed Anelka was level with Villa’s Christian Benteke, Cardiff’s Fraizer Campbell and Stoke’s Jon Walters at the top of the standings for ‘big chances missed’.
Each had missed five with Benteke netting four goals and Campbell two while Anelka and Walters are yet to find the net.
Anelka is competing for places at Albion with fellow strikers Victor Anichebe, Shane Long, Markus Rosenberg and Saido Berahino, who is the only recognised hitman to score in the league this season.
Clarke said: “They are all in a position where they want to play. They understand that at certain times they will be in the team and at other times they will be out.
“All they can do is keep working hard and being ready for their chance when it comes.”