Byline: James Nursey
West Bromwich Albion underlined their credentials as promotion favourites in midweek with a victory at Bradford which established a four-point lead at the top of the First Division.
And with manager Gary Megson hopeful of strengthening his squad with a new signing before Christmas, the festive season is shaping up to be a real celebration for Baggies' fans.
The misfor-tunes of rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premiership have added to Albion's delight, but Megson remains typically cautious.
He said: 'There is a fourpoint gap at the top but we have to see that as a springboard rather than a safety net.
'I want us to win games; if other sides slip further behind then that's their problem. But I'm hoping our advantage can be a springboard for us.
'After this Saturday we will be at the halfway stage of the season and we have to try and get as many points as possible.'
With Albion hosting 11thplaced Crewe Alexandra today and their nearest rivals Sheffield United and Norwich at home to Watford and Cardiff respectively, the Baggies have a realistic opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the league.
However, after two indifferentperformances against West Ham and Bradford in Albion's previous two outings, Megson says there is still room for improvement.
He said: 'I certainly don't want the players to relax now we are clear at the top. The way we played at Bradford meant it wasn't purely a happy dressing room afterwards.
'If we play like that all the time we won't win enough games to get to where we want to be.
'We have had some good performances and some poor ones. We have to get that right if we want to get even more points.
'You only have to look at the Rotherham, Wimbledon and Crystal Palace games to see we have not always performed well.' Albion have not won at home in the league in four attempts --their last victory was at home to Norwich on October 18 --and they have only scored once in the process. Megson's side have struggled to break down visiting teams who have come to The Hawthorns and packed ten men behind the ball.
Crewe, who have only won twice away from home this season, are likely to be no different, despite their reputation for passing football. …