ALAN Irvine has called on his players to stake a claim for a place in his opening-day starting XI as they step up their preparations for the new Barclays Premier League campaign with a trip to Nottingham Forest on Saturday (ko 1.30pm).
The Baggies boss has just over a fortnight to decide who will line-up against Sunderland at The Hawthorns on Saturday, August 16 (ko 3pm).
And he is expecting a tough challenge at Forest with the Sky Bet Championship outfit a week closer to their league curtain raiser.
“The season is getting closer,” said Irvine.
“We don’t need to pick the team for the opening game yet but players need to be laying down their claims for a position in the team on the first day.
“There are players who are on their way back from injuries at the moment and I need to decide just how much playing time they need to get.”
He added: “It will be a very difficult game against Forest.
“I’ve been in the dressing room of a Championship team who are getting ready to take on a Premier League team in a pre-season game.
“You’re a week ahead so it means you’re that little bit fitter and that little more ready tactically.”
View the full interview with Alan Irvine below.