CHRIS Brunt believes Romelu Lukaku ‘came into his own’ over the hectic festive period - and is relishing the chance to see how much more he can deliver for Albion.
The on-loan striker will now complete the campaign at The Hawthorns after parent-club Chelsea’s option to recall him this month expired on Monday.
Lukaku has scored twice in his last three top-flight starts – including a dramatic late winner over Norwich.
And he leads the Baggies’ Barclays Premier League scoring chart with seven strikes as he prepares to head to Reading tomorrow (ko 3pm), having scored the winner in September’s 1-0 victory over the Royals.
“Rom’s come into his own in the last month,” said Brunt.
“The gaffer’s been chopping and changing him and Shane and Rom has stepped up and grabbed a few goals for us.
“He’s been consistently hitting the back of the net in the last few weeks even when we’ve not played that well, and the more he plays, the better he’ll get.
“People forget he’s only a young lad, he’s still learning the game, but he’s a real handful.
“He gets in good areas and hopefully he’ll put more and more chances away as he gets more football.”
The Albion skipper has also paid tribute to Zoltan Gera for his contribution this term after the bitter blow this week that he will miss the rest of the season due to a knee injury.
The Hungary midfielder hit four vital goals, with his strikes against Liverpool, QPR, Sunderland and Norwich all helping to secure Barclays Premier League wins and put the Baggies in seventh spot after 21 games.
“To lose Zoltan for the rest of the season is a massive blow,” Brunt added.
“We’re all gutted for him but we knew straight away that it was a nasty one.
“I was right beside him and to see him go down, I knew right away it wasn’t good.
“After he worked so hard to get fit the last time it’s terrible luck to do it again, but with his attitude, I’m sure he’ll be back again.
“He’s a good person to have around the club, he’s always positive and I’ve only ever seen him lose his rag a couple of times in all the years I’ve known him.
“He’s a nice guy, great in training and on the pitch, and he always chips in with something so we will definitely miss him.”