Darren Moore was delighted for Bakary Sako after the Mali international scored his first goal for the club in the 1-0 win over Wigan in the FA Cup third round.
Sako headed the winner after half an hour of the tie at the Hawthorns and could have had a second goal after the break only to see his shot saved before his follow-up was cleared off the line.
Moore made nine changes for the cup tie, with Sako getting a rare chance to start after signing in the summer following his release by Crystal Palace.
Moore said: “Bakary has had to sit and watch. We’ve got him here and we’ve got him fit. We are starting to set the speed of him, the mobility of him. I am delighted for him he has scored his goal.
“He was a constant menace with his pace and power for Wigan. That game and goal have done him the world of good.”
Despite his performance, there was no guarantee Sako would make it into Moore’s team for the next game.
The head coach added: “Competition for places is fierce and that’s what I want. While that continues it can only be good for West Bromwich Albion.”
After making nine changes, Moore was satisfied his replacements had taken the club into the fourth round.
He said: “It was a perfect afternoon. I’m pleased with the result and pleased with the performance.
“We had the chances in the first half and chances in the second half. Overall I am very pleased.”
Wigan’s best moments came before West Brom scored as Will Grigg forced a low save out of Jonathan Bond with his run and shot after 10 minutes.
From the resulting corner, Chey Dunkley headed over but the visitors rarely troubled the home team after that point.
Just before the half hour Chris Brunt curled a free-kick towards the top right corner of the Wigan goal but Jamie Jones stretched to tip it over for a corner.
Wigan failed to properly clear Brunt’s flag-kick from the left and when the West Brom captain curled the ball back in, Sako’s header went in off the bar for his first Baggies goal with 31 minutes on the clock.
Sako should have doubled his side’s advantage eight minutes into the second half but, after being sent clear, his shot was blocked by the legs of Jones before the striker’s follow-up was cleared on the line by Dunkley.
Wigan manager Paul Cook said his side would concentrate on staying in the Sky Bet Championship after going out of the FA Cup.
Cook said: “It was a tough game for us in general. I thought we started the game well, we start games really well, we miss a chance or two sand then we get punished. The players are doing everything they can do in games.
“We have clear water in our focus. We must show the unity to keep us in the division.
“The focus is on the target of the achievement of staying in the league.
“As a manager you can only say ‘are the players doing enough?’. I think they are working hard and doing enough.”
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