Steve Sidwell believes Albion's difficult second season in the Premier League will be a valuable learning experience for the players and manager Chris Hughton.

He has called on the long-serving core of the squad to see them over the line in the relegation fight with Cardiff.

Albion hold a four-point advantage over Neil Warnock's side and have a far superior goal difference with two games to go.

The danger is not over yet. The Welshmen have to win at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday night (5.30) to retain hope.

That would take it to the final fixtures if Albion lose or draw at Arsenal the following day (4.30).

Manchester United could be out of the race for the top four by then and Cardiff would arguably have more chance of victory at Old Trafford than Albion would if needing a point or three at the Amex against title-chasing Manchester City.

Sidwell is no longer in the dressing room after injury forced him to retire last summer but he is still a supportive voice with a wealth of top flight experience.

The Argus: The former midfielder played for 11 seasons in the Premier League with Reading, Chelsea, Aston Villa, Fulham and Stoke.

Sidwell, 36, told The Argus: "The second season is always difficult. I've experienced it, I don't think hardly any of these (players) have.

"They got off to a good start and went through a spell where they won three games on the bounce and it got to a level where they looked comfortable.

"They were stuck on 26-28 points for quite a while and then you are thinking, the way the league is going it could take 34, 35 points to stay up.

"That mentality creeps in that you only need two more wins and a draw, or a couple more draws.

"You start looking at the fixtures and, no disrespect, especially with our home form at the time, you've got Burnley, Southampton, Bournemouth, Newcastle, Cardiff all to come at the back end of the season.

"You probably could put it down to the lads maybe taking their foot off the gas.

"I don't think it is because of that dressing room. I know the types of lads they are and the manager that's leading them as well.

"I'm sure that wouldn't have happened. It's all about experiences. They will have learned so much from this season and now it's a case of just getting it over the line by hook or by crook. You've got to drag the others with you.

"I started up a Whatsapp group just recently with Dunky, Duffers, Bruno, Muzza, Dale Stephens. They are the core. I said look, it doesn't matter about the others, it doesn't matter what's going on, you just grab them and get them over the line and deal with it at the end of the season and next season."

The Argus: Sidwell, now a club ambassador, under-16s assistant coach and TV pundit for Sky Sports and BT Sport, has great faith in Hughton who brought him back to Albion from Stoke.

He says the scrutiny and question marks accompanying the slump in the second half of the campaign will not be any surprise to the 60-year-old in his third full season as a Premier League manager.

"If you asked him the same question he will say it's part and parcel of the job, especially in the top league," Sidwell said. "It's the biggest league in the world, the most challenging league in the world, and it's going to throw obstacles at you.

"Again it's a learning curve for him. He will have known mistakes that he has made this season and he will learn from that.

"What he has done at this football club, all the fans know it's amazing where he has taken them from, in the relegation zone, through the Championship and promotion.

"He fully deserves everyone's backing, not just the fans, but the Board, the owner.

"Again, you ask him, it's just about getting over that line now, whether it's by points or goal difference, re-evaluate, dissect it over the off-season and then a plan of action for next year."

The Argus: Albion will know where they stand against Unai Emery's Arsenal, where Sidwell began his career, joining on loan from the Gunners in his first spell.

"They are in a transition period," he said. "For me they have done unbelievably well this season. I thought they were going to really struggle for top six.

"It wasn't just Arsene Wenger leaving, it was the DNA, the whole culture. The players were used to that. A lot of staff left as well.

"But they have adapted, done well. All season their away form has been terrible.

"Their home form has been good. It's a difficult place to go to, they've got some world class players.

"It would be nice to go there with the result having been taken care of at Cardiff on Saturday.

"They are the stadiums (Emirates) you want to enjoy going to, release the shackles, enjoy playing at top clubs."