Ben Foster: West Brom keeper warns 40 pts may not be enough

West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster
Foster was initially expected to be out for four weeks after a collision with ex-England team-mate Peter Crouch

West Brom keeper Ben Foster is warning that 40 points may not be enough to ensure Premier League survival this season, going into this Saturday's derby with bottom club Aston Villa.

Albion, in 13th, will start the day 15 points ahead of struggling Villa.

But Albion are only five points clear of trouble themselves and Foster warns: "You know what the derby game with Villa is all about.

"It's going to be full-blooded. Two teams who badly need the points."

It is now 13 seasons since 40 points was not enough to ensure survival in the top flight - the year when West Ham United went down with 42 points.

But, such is the competiveness of this season's Premier League - only 18 points separate fourth-placed Tottenham from 18th-placed Newcastle - Foster insists that Saturday's game has much riding on it, especially against a Villa team now unbeaten in four league and cup games.

"The way the league's going this season, I very much doubt whether 40 points will keep you safe," added Foster, speaking after Tuesday night's FA Cup third-round replay win at Bristol City. "So every point we play for at the minute is vital."

Fit-again Foster back on course

Foster can now consider himself a potential England candidate for this summer's European Championships, having made his long-awaited return after 10 months out following knee surgery.

After initially coming back in for the 2-2 FA Cup third-round draw with Bristol City, Foster was on the bench for Saturday's 3-0 Premier League defeat at Southampton, only to be recalled again for the replay victory at Ashton Gate.

"In the first game I felt bit rusty," Foster told BBC WM 95.6. "But I've had 10 to 12 days training since and I now feel like I'm getting up to speed, to somewhere I need to be. It's just about getting games under your belt."

Foster, who has eight England caps, looks to be vying with Southampton's Fraser Forster and Burnley's Tom Heaton for the third and final place in Roy Hodgson's squad behind Joe Hart and Jack Butland.

It was Hodgson who brought Foster to The Hawthorns, initially on loan, in August 2011.

Foster pleased with FA Cup win

"It was nice we put such a strong team out," said Foster. "A lot of the bigger clubs see it as an opportunity to blood some of the youngsters but I've never seen it that way. I always want to play in the FA Cup.

"It was quite tough conditions. The ground was quite frozen, especially in our half and it was a bit bobbly. But it was all about just getting through.

"Nobody wanted it go to extra-time and it was a composed finish from Salomon Rondon - and a clean sheet too, so everyone was happy."

Ben Foster was talking to BBC WM's Rob Gurney.

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