CHRIS Brunt is determined to put his early-season injury problems behind him once and for all – insisting he will not rush back into action.
The Baggies skipper’s pre-season preparations were wiped out by a calf problem and in only his second league start of the campaign in the 1-1 draw at Villa at the end of last month he was struck down by a hamstring injury just before half-time.
Although it is not as bad as first feared he admits the international break has come at just the right time for him as he bids to battle back to full fitness before returning to Barclays Premier League action.
“I’m not too sure what the overall timescale on the injury is but it’s coming along,” said Brunt.
“It wasn’t as bad as we thought at first because it felt like a nasty one when I got it at Villa Park, so in that sense it isn’t too serious.
“The problem is that it’s happened a couple of times now so this time I want to make absolutely sure it’s right before I come back, because it’s no use to anybody doing two or three weeks at a time and then getting another injury.
“It is frustrating, but it’s something you have to get used to in football.
“At least with the international break I won’t miss so much football, but once we’re back and you start the run towards Christmas, obviously the games come at you without a break, so I need to be right for this period coming up.
“It was disappointing to miss out with Northern Ireland as well, but there’s a lot of travelling involved there so, to be honest, having two weeks where I am able to concentrate on rehab and resting the injury is good for me.
“There isn’t that mad rush to get back that you normally have, so the break has come just at the right time for me.”
Brunt is in his sixth season with the Baggies and is delighted key members of the squad James Morrison and Jonas Olsson have committed their long-term futures to the club by signing new four-year deals in the last month.
And the former Sheffield Wednesday midfielder says it shows they have a strong ‘affinity’ for the club.
He added: “What has been important for us in the last few weeks is getting people like Mozza and Jonas on new long-term contracts.
“They’ve been here a long time, they know the place inside out and have been big players in the success we’ve had over the last four or five years, so I think it’s right to see them rewarded for that.
“And it’s great for the club to have them tied down here for seasons to come, which helps when it comes to planning.
“It’s important to have a core of people who have been here a long time because they understand the place and have a special feel for the club and, speaking for myself, having that affinity with the club is really nice.
“Those boys and myself are experienced footballers now compared with when we joined and that goes a long way at a club like ours, especially if you can add to it with guys like Gareth McAuley, Liam Ridgewell and Steven Reid, who have played a lot of games and are good characters.
“Obviously Reidy has had his injury issues over the last 12 months, but he’s an experienced pro, he makes a big contribution even if he isn’t playing, and when he is in the team he understands how to manage games, so having him involved is vital.”