Martis impresses Mowbray
Tony Mowbray is hopeful Shelton Martis can continue to play a key role in West Brom's bid for survival.
Last Updated: 25/03/09 10:34am
West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Mowbray is hopeful the emergence of defender Shelton Martis can continue to improve his side's bid for survival.
Mowbray signed the Dutch player from Darlington while in charge of Hibernian and then paid just £50,000 to take him to the Hawthorns in the summer of 2007.
The 26-year-old has since struggled for a regular first-team berth and had spells on loan at Scunthorpe last season and during the current campaign at Doncaster.
But injuries to several players, combined with Albion's failure to find a solid centre-back pairing, led to him being handed his Premier League debut in the goalless draw at West Ham nine days ago.
And Mowbray has challenged Martis to cement a place in his starting XI after he again impressed in the 1-1 draw against Bolton Wanderers last weekend.
Mowbray said: "All season, we have had problems in defence. The two experienced players we have got in terms of age around the 27 mark, Abdoulaye Meite and Jonas Olsson, have only played seven games together this season out of 30.
"There has been no consistency in that position. The other two youngsters, Leon Barnett and Ryan Donk, with total respect to them, are young boys working their socks off.
"Yet they have never been anywhere near the sort of quality that they play against week in and week out and they have found it tough.
"You get to the point where you can't keep going back to the same players who have had opportunity after opportunity after opportunity and Shelton has been given his chance almost by default."
Mowbray added: "Shelton has come in, been on loan to Doncaster this season, came to our club for £50,000 from Hibernian, and yet against West Ham and Bolton he looked like a Premier League player.
"He has got the opportunity because of circumstance really, because of injuries etc, and his performance level in training.
"Doncaster wanted to take him back on loan and yet his chance came at West Ham, we put him in the team, and he did exceptionally well.
"Hopefully he will take his chance in the remaining games of the season."