CHRIS Brunt is hoping to put himself in the frame for Albion’s Barclays Premier League opener against Sunderland on Saturday week after seeing his first pre-season action at the weekend.
The Baggies skipper came on for the last 18 minutes of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest after only recently returning to training following a groin injury.
And he admits he is surprised by the speed of his recovery as he looks to impress new boss Alan Irvine.
“I think we had a decent ten days’ work in California,” said Brunt, with the Baggies set to visit Port Vale in their penultimate pre-season match tomorrow (ko 7.45pm).
“I can only speak from a personal of view but I think I did a lot more than I expected and came back even fitter than I’d hoped for.
“This week has been like my first week of pre-season so I was feeling a bit leggy on Saturday.
“But from a personal point of view it was nice to get out on the pitch.
“It was pretty similar to a couple of seasons ago when I played 20 minutes there as a first game in pre-season.
“Things have been going pretty well and I felt quite good when I went on so hopefully I can get some more minutes under my belt this week and put myself in the gaffer’s plans for Sunderland in a couple of weeks.”
The Northern Ireland international also insisted there was little point reading too much into the result at the City Ground against a Forest a team who are less than a week away from kicking-off their Championship campaign.
"You want to win every game but you can’t really judge too much on pre-season games,” he added.
“We’ve seen that in the past.
“I think last season we won most of our pre-season games and didn’t start the season too well.
“So I don’t think it’s really got too much bearing on the next couple of weeks
“We did okay.
“We moved the ball about quite well and Forest are a week ahead of us fitness-wise.
“People don’t look too much into that but I think it does make a big difference, especially at this stage of pre-season.
“They’re raring to go and fighting for shirts in their opening league game, so I think the lads did okay.
“We created a few chances and didn’t put them away, their keeper made a few saves and they took their goal pretty well - and the win is neither here nor there really.
“It was another good run-out and the lads got valuable minutes. This week will be pretty important for everybody."