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James Morrison backing West Brom to go up

By Joseph Masi | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

Baggies favourite James Morrison is backing Albion to go on and win promotion this year.

But the 33-year-old has warned the busy Christmas period will be pivotal to their hopes – with the former midfielder believing every player is going to have to play their part.

After 12 enjoyable seasons with the club, Morrison retired from football in October and is now taking his first steps into coaching at The Hawthorns.

And watching from the stands he has been hugely impressed by Slaven Bilic’s side this season.

“The style of football we are playing is great and everything is going to plan at the minute,” Morrison said.

“There is a good feel about the place, the players are playing well and scoring lots of goals.

“It’s just a case of keeping going.

“Christmas is a busy period. When you are playing you are in a daze really, you drift along. You have to put all your focus on the games and recovering right.

“In the Championship, you see it time and time again, things can change pretty quickly.

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“So the squad will be really important, everyone will have to play their part.

“But I think the team have been fantastic this year. I don’t want to jinx it, but I can’t see anyone pipping us at the minute.”

Morrison admits he has found it tough adapting to retirement after making the decision to hang up his boots.

But he is now enjoying his coaching work – with the former Scotland international spending time with Albion’s under-18s and under-23s.

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“It (retirement) is very hard and nothing prepares you for it when it actually happens,” Morrison continued.

“It takes a bit of time getting used to.

“But I am enjoying the coaching.

“It is still a bit strange. It’s a new challenge. It makes you appreciate the coaches a lot more, what they have to do and what they have to think about.

“Now I am on the other side of the fence, it’s an eye-opener.

“I have been with the under-18s, watching and looking at how the coaches work. They have got a great coach in Peter Gilbert. He does some great work with the kids.

“And I watch the under-23s. I’m dipping my toe in at the minute and seeing where it goes from there.” A friend of legendary Baggies fan ‘Blind Dave’ Heeley, Morrison is helping promote the charity champion’s latest fundraising

campaign.

The 62-year-old, who has already raised £3million for charity, will cycle from Colditz in Germany to The Hawthorns in April next year to raise funds for The Albion Foundation.

And Morrison is also planning to do his own sponsored cycle, with the midfielder set to pedal his way from Hull to The Hawthorns next year.

“I have just started cycling myself so when the opportunity came up to raise funds for the Albion Foundation I jumped at it,” he said.

“It gives me an opportunity to get back involved on the community side because there are some great people there who do some amazing work so it will be nice to give a little bit back.

“And you never know if people see me doing it then it might get someone to do something as well.

“It’s from Hull’s KCOM Stadium to here. We finish on a match day.

“It will be a great couple of days of cycling and finishing at the game – it’ll be up to the lads to win and make it a great weekend.

“But for me, it will be nice to complete a little challenge.”

Morrison revealed Dave has been trying to get him to join the 800 mile cycle from Colditz to the Black County.

“He’s been trying to get me on it but I’m not ready for that,” Morrison joked.

“We’ll take the fundraising one step at a time.

“I’ve known Dave for 10-years now, ever since I first joined the club, and he is a fantastic man.

“As soon as I met him I could tell he was a great character.

“He is a great example of always being happy in himself.

“To have raised £3million so far is an incredible effort.

“Now he’s going to cycle 800miles. But he’ll do it and it will be a great achievement for him and his team.”

Morrison is now preparing for his cycle ride but says he will up his training after Christmas.

“Christmas is going to be very different for me this year and I want to enjoy it,” he added.

“There will be a lot of food intake, I’ll train in January.

“For the first time, I don’t have to worry about what I eat, training, leaving the family on Christmas Day and staying in a hotel.

“I’m going to enjoy it.”

Joseph Masi

By Joseph Masi
Football MMPJ - @josephmasi_star

West Bromwich Albion reporter.

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