Mark a midfield mainstay

Midfield men Scott Parker and Thomas Hitzlsperger have taken much of the headlines in recent weeks but Mark Noble is proving very much their equal.

The homegrown Hammer has been the assist king - making all three goals in the West Brom comeback, playing in Carlton Cole for both his goals in the 5-1 win against Burnley before laying on the crucial opener for Demba Ba last Saturday against Stoke City. Always unassuming, Noble is happy to talk up his team-mates rather than acknowledge his role.

"To win 3-0 at home against Stoke who are a tough team and a big team is excellent. I thought we dealt with them brilliantly. The defence was fantastic. Manu who came in was brilliant, Matty, Bridgey, they were all fantastic and we sort of carried on from where we left off against Liverpool.

"Obviously it also helped with the boys up top coming back as well. Demba, Coley and Freddie [Piquionne] came back all the way and we defended as a team and that is what you need to do in this position really."

Giving away five and seven years respectively on Hitzlsperger and Parker respectively, the 23-year-old is relishing being the young upstart alongside the Germany and England internationals.

"Obviously I am still young," he said, with a smile "They are old! I'm learning things off them every day. I still want to learn and improve. Playing in the midfield at the moment is an absolute pleasure.

"The idea is to keep it as tight as we can. Play the ball when we can, pass it among ourselves and I think it is probably nice to watch at times. Obviously I've got an assist against Stoke, Thomas has scored a goal and got an assist and I think Scotty's run for Thomas was superb.

"It is nice to play with them. I'm enjoying every minute of it."

Noble is not the only one, and the fan in him comes out when he reflects further on his own team-mates and their impact of late.

"I think the likes of Wayne Bridge, Demba coming in, obviously Hitz coming back. They are good players. I think the recruitment in January was brilliant. The likes of Keano we've got to come back too, so things are definitely looking up."

Such quality and competition is raising everyone's game, Noble believed.

"This season is definitely my best. Creating goals and just my general play is where it should be and where I want to keep it. It isn't about me at the end of the day. As long as the team is winning and I'm playing well, I'm happy.

"Let's hope we can keep it up, we've got a tough game with Stoke on Sunday in the quarter-final and then we've got Tottenham away which isn't going to be an easy game either, but we are looking forward to it."