GEORGE Thorne hopes his assured display at Manchester United on Saturday will be enough to secure his first top-flight start at The Hawthorns in Albion’s New Year’s Day clash with Fulham (ko 12.45pm).
The 19-year-old’s Peterborough loan spell was cut short on Thursday in order to bolster Steve Clarke’s midfield options as Youssouf Mulumbu and Claudio Yacob sat out the 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford with hamstring injuries.
And the Albion Academy product, who also gained Championship experience with Portsmouth last season, has now set his sights on an extended first-team run with the Baggies.
“I’m not sure on the situation with Claudio and when he’ll be back but, if I get another chance, hopefully I can give the gaffer something to think about,” said Thorne.
“Claudio is a big miss for us, as is Youssouf, but we can’t sit back and think ‘what if they were playing?'
“Ultimately I want to be a West Brom starting XI player.
“I got my chance because of a few injuries and absences and if I get another chance I’ll have to take it.
“If a situation arises where the injured players come back fit in numbers and I’m not involved we will have to sit down and look at it again.
“But for now I am around the team and involved so we will see what happens in the coming weeks."
The Chatam-born midfielder says his time at London Road meant he was match sharp and enabled him to hit the ground running against United.
“We’re all professionals and a lot of lads go away on loan and come back," he added.
“I’ve done it before so it’s straight back on with the job.
“A lot of players have played a lot of games recently in a busy period and it wasn’t the best pitch, but that is part and parcel at this time of year.
“I had a phone call about 48 hours before the game as I was preparing to face Bristol City and they said they needed me in the squad at Old Trafford.
“Then I found out on Saturday that I was playing but I was ready and I felt sharp.
“That’s what they send you out on loan for - and I got a chance."
Thorne believes the Baggies were unfortunate to leave Old Trafford with nothing – revealing he did his level best to not be overawed at the Theatre of Dreams.
“We were unfortunate in the end,” he said.
“Playing at Old Trafford is a dream of every kid when they’re growing up but you can’t really get caught up in it.
“We’re here to do a job and I need to focus on the job in hand, so as I was walking out I knew I had a tough game ahead.
“Going in at half-time we felt quietly confident and we knew if we kept it at 1-0 for the majority of the game we would have a chance to hopefully nick a point.
“We pushed for it and it just didn’t break for us in the end, and they got a late second goal.
“But we knew we could have a good go at the game and we were unfortunate in the end.
“The gaffer has had to make some changes through injuries.
“We were low on numbers and all the lads did themselves credit.
“It was a hard task but for the majority of the game we were very much in it.
“We will push on to the Fulham game, a few of the lads might be back, and we will see what happens.
“We can’t change anything now - we just have to look at the Fulham game.
“They’re a very good team, it will be a very hard test, but they’re coming to our place and we’ve been very good there this year.
“It will be up to us to continue that and get three points.
“Every team has a little bad patch in their season but hopefully we’ve got ours over now.”