JONAS Olsson cannot wait to get back on the pitch at Norwich on Saturday (ko 3pm) – after suffering as a supporter against Cardiff last weekend.
The Baggies defender was forced to watch from the stands against the Bluebirds as he served the second match of a two-game ban for picking up ten yellow cards this season.
He admits he suffered a frustrating afternoon and felt the fans’ pain when City rocked the Hawthorns with a last-gasp equaliser.
And the vice-captain hopes he will now earn an instant recall to Pepe Mel’s 17th-placed team as they go in search of victory at Carrow
“It’s nice to be back,” said Olsson.
“It’s never nice being sat on the side; it’s more nervous and frustrating than anything.
“I was disappointed on Saturday; I felt down even though I didn’t play.
“I was in pain as well after the late equaliser – and the dressing room was as well.
“We care as much as the fans.
“It’s hard but, then again, looking at it another way it was another point, and Fulham and Sunderland didn’t get any points at the weekend, so we still got one more point than them.
“Cardiff’s last goal was a blow.
“But the other results went our way and we’ve got an opportunity to push on now – starting Saturday.
“We’re in a situation where, if we’re not picking up three points at the weekend, we need to look at other teams around us and hope some of their results go our way.
“It’s still very much in our own hands, of course.”
The Sweden international’s last game was the 2-1 win at Swansea, when he played as one of three centre-halves alongside Gareth McAuley and Craig Dawson.
And his return from suspension means Mel’s options in terms of personnel and formation at the back are improved ahead of the trip to Norfolk.
“It’s not for me to pick the side,” he insisted.
“But the three centre-halves at Swansea worked for that game.
“I don’t know yet what the gaffer’s plans are for the weekend.
“We work on those things on Thursday and Friday.
“We’ll see, but it’s good to have different approaches to choose from.”
The Baggies will be backed by a sell-out 2,500 following at Norwich and Olsson admits that is a huge boost on the back of a white-hot atmosphere at The Hawthorns last time out.
“Since I’ve been at the club the away support has always been brilliant,” he added.
“That counts for a lot.
“The atmosphere in the first 20 minutes on Saturday was as good as I’ve felt at The Hawthorns.
“It is important we get that support for these important games coming up.
“We need to earn that atmosphere of course.
“It was great to know the fans are right behind us and we’re all pulling in the same direction.
“We want to be safe as soon as possible.”
Olsson is also likely to resume captain’s duties against the Canaries, as Chris Brunt continues his recovery from a knee injury.
“Hopefully I can play my part as captain on the day,” he said.
“Although I don’t think it’s so much about who is wearing the armband.
“It’s important to have big characters on the field.
“I think we have in GMac, Reidy and Ridgewell.
“It’s important to have them all over the pitch and I don’t think it’s that important who is wearing the armband.
“It’s just important to have voices on the pitch - and I think we have plenty of characters.
“But of course, when I play I try to do my bit and hopefully show leadership qualities by leading by example.”