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Smiles return to West Brom faces as they flourish in Championship | Ben Fisher

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Darren Moore impressed as interim manager in the club’s unsuccessful fight for Premier League survival, and now results have brought the feelgood factor back to the Hawthorns

Darren Moore is never going to blow his own trumpet but, after the alienation, strain and pain of relegation last season, the Hawthorns seems a happier haunt these days. “I hope so,” Moore, the affable West Bromwich Albion head coach, says, sitting in a pocket of the stadium overlooking the pristine pitch. “It certainly feels a different place.”

Results help. After almost hatching the greatest of great escapes, the Baggies are back in the Championship, for the first time since 2010. After impressing in caretaker charge – Moore memorably won the manager of the month award after an unbeaten April – he landed the job on a permanent basis by mid-May. No longer the popular supply teacher, these days Moore is head teacher. He has galvanised the group, making the job his own. In some ways, Albion have picked up where they left off. Before Tuesday night’s wins for Leeds and Middlesbrough, they were top of the pile. Victory at Sheffield Wednesday on Wednesday night will return them to the summit.

Related: Championship roundup: Steve Bruce says cabbage thrower ‘lacked respect’

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