Don't turn on Craig Dawson, Darren Moore urges West Brom fans
Darren Moore has urged Albion fans not to turn on Craig Dawson as he aims to reintegrate the defender back into his squad.
Dawson refused to attend Moore’s pre-season training camp in Portugal and handed in a transfer request over summer in an effort to force a move away.
But Albion kept hold of the 28-year-old after rejecting a £15m bid from West Ham early in the summer when David Moyes was Hammers boss and a £10m bid from Burnley.
Dawson has been in a sullen mood at the training ground this summer and has not featured in the opening two games.
But Moore is keen to get him back playing, and he hopes the supporters do not make his return unpleasant.
“I hope not,” he said. “I hope it’s a positive reaction because Craig’s a fantastic player who is part of the family here.
“My message to the fans is to continue supporting him as you’ve always done. We now need to come together as one, which is what I’ve always said.”
Moore understands why Albion fans would be disappointed with Dawson’s actions over summer, but hopes it will soon be water under the bridge.
“I get it,” he said. “But what are we going to do? Cry over spilled milk because it didn’t happen (the transfer).
“Outside influences can make players think something’s going to happen.
“Craig is a fantastic footballer, contracted to the club. I’m looking forward to working with Craig as I always have.
“He knows my views, I know his views, my message is let’s get to work. It’s done, the window’s closed.”
Dawson is unlikely to start at Carrow Road this weekend, where his best hope is making the bench, but Moore does want both him and Nacer Chadli to start playing soon.
“They’ve been training, their fitness levels are where they are supposed to be, but they need a bit more topping up,” he said. “In terms of integrating them back into the group, I’ve got no problem with them at all.
“They’re elite professionals who take their football seriously and they’re good players. We need to get them right physically for a tough campaign ahead.”
When he was asked if he had spoken to Dawson about getting his head straight for the season, Moore said: “We’ve had talks. I haven’t taken him to one side but the communication is always there, as it is with all the players.
“We speak on a daily basis, it’s not about pulling him aside for a single chat.
“I don’t want to single Craig out but he is an exceptional talent and a good defender. He’s in the prime of his career, we’ve all seen how well he’s developed at the club.
“The club deserves a lot of credit for that, he did well at right back and now he’s come back in to central defence and was exceptional at the back end of last season.
“He’s an intelligent player who knows the game very well. To have him here at the club is fantastic for us all and we just want to get him back playing and get him doing what he does best which is playing football.”
Although Dawson is likely to stay until January at least, with the European window still open there is less certainty that Chadli will remain.
The Belgian returned to training on Monday and is also an outside bet for a spot on the bench this weekend.
“He’s still here,” said Moore. “He’s fit and well. We’re getting him up to speed.
“He’s part of the squad now, I’m looking forward to getting him to a level where he can get back out there and play for West Brom.
“Everybody should be excited that he’s still in the building. I’m excited to get Nac playing games again, we know what an excellent player he can be. I see him playing in a number of positions.”