Conor Townsend targets immediate return to Premier League for West Brom

Conor Townsend is determined Albion will return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

Conor Townsend of West Bromwich Albion and Mohamed Salah of Liverpool. (AMA)
Conor Townsend of West Bromwich Albion and Mohamed Salah of Liverpool. (AMA)

The Baggies have battled hard to avoid the drop over the past few months but defeat at Arsenal just over a week ago confirmed they will be a Championship side again next year.

Townsend's campaign has mirrored Albion's as a whole with the defender having grown in stature and put in some excellent displays ever since Sam Allardyce arrived as boss.

And now he has got used to playing in the Premier League, the 28-year-old is determined to get back there.

"In the Premier League you are playing against the best," Townsend said.

"I've always had it in my mind to play at the highest level and it's been a dream to have played in the Premier League this season.

"We've played a lot better under Sam, have looked more organised as a team and have been better going forward.

"There's been a lot of games where we have played well but not took points and, ultimately, that is what has let us down in the end.

"I've enjoyed it despite us being around the bottom and we've made memories which we'll remember forever.

"It's been a good experience which has only made me eager to get us back here next year."

Albion host West Ham on Wednesday – a match that will see them play in front of Baggies fans for the first time this season with approximately 6,000 tickets having been sold for the clash.

They then complete the campaign at Leeds on Sunday.

And after being hugely unfortunate to lose to Liverpool last weekend, Townsend says the team wants to end the campaign as strongly as possible.

"We will go into these games wanting to prove a point and wanting to win," he said.

"We want to end the season strongly as a group of players and take some momentum and keep that feeling around the club going into next season.

"Apart from the Leicester game, performances of late have been good, we just haven't managed to get the results we deserved.

"But this is the Premier League, we have given it a good go and we'll continue to do that until the end of the season.

"We still want to end it strongly."

Townsend has gone toe-to-toe with some of the best forwards in the world this season but he feels Marcus Rashford has been his toughest opponent.

"You always think about going up against the best and every week it's difficult because each player brings different attributes, qualities and strengths," he added.

"For me, it's about learning to adapt to those different challenges.

"Marcus Rashford has been the toughest player I have faced, he's a top player – you can see why he's had the career he has so far.

"I'm sure he'll go on to do more great things with Manchester United and hopefully England too."

Meanwhile, Townsend's defensive partner Kyle Bartley says Albion are determined to put on a show for the supporters who attend the West Ham game tomorrow.

"I'm really proud of the way everybody has kept going," the skipper said.

"It's a great honour to lead this out and our focus now is to go out fighting.

"We want to put on a show to get the fans excited for next season.

"Getting as much momentum going into next year will be key so hopefully when we come back in pre-season, we'll be ready to mount a charge and come straight back up."

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