STEVEN Reid admits he has got a fight on his hands to get back into Steve Clarke’s starting XI – but he is chomping at the bit to get back involved in the Baggies’ early season success.
The 31-year-old defender watched Saturday’s 2-1 win at Wigan with the Albion fans at the DW Stadium - and just 24 hours later made his comeback from a hamstring injury as an over-age player in the Under-21s’ 4-0 victory over Norwich.
But he has not seen top-flight action since the 52nd minute of the third game of the season against Everton and knows he has a job on his hands to shift Billy Jones from the right-back slot.
“Hopefully I’ll be involved on Saturday and I just need to fight my way back into the team now,” said Reid.
“We’ll be trying to get three wins on the spin and I just want to get back into the squad and experience a matchday.
“I’ll have to earn the right to play and get back in the team.
“The team are playing well and Billy’s playing really well at right-back.
“He’s a great lad and he has proved to be another great signing for the club.
“He’s stepped up from the lower leagues with Preston and Crewe, which mirrors what I did in terms of playing for Millwall.
“He’s still young and this is only his second season in the Premier League so he can only get better.
“He’s been superb, so it’s now up to me to try and get back into the team.
“We have a squad full of quality now and everyone’s in danger because if you’re not performing you could find yourself on the bench.
“Even if you are performing, there’s still no guarantee that you’re going to be playing as the head coach will pick the team that he thinks is right on that day.
“There is huge competition for places.”
Former Blackburn ace, Reid, is in his tenth successive Premier League season but has never been part of a side that has amassed 20 points after the opening 11 games.
And he is excited to see what Steve Clarke’s fifth-placed outfit can achieve over the course of the campaign.
“We got off to a good start and now we’ve obviously kicked on to another level," he added.
"It’s the highest points total that I’ve had at in ten years as a Premier League player.
“We’re in Champions League form at the minute and, on the whole, we’re steering clear of major injuries.
“If we can do that and try to keep a fully-fit squad there’s no reason we can’t kick on.
“We’ve got to get to that 40-point mark. It’s boring to say it - but we do.
“I think the real aim for this season has got to be minimum top-half.
“There’s no reason, with this squad, why we can’t sort of do what Newcastle did last season.
“You can start getting carried away and fans tend to start looking at results you’ve had and then start predicting the games coming up.
“If players start thinking like that then you can become unstuck.
“We’d have ripped your arm off for 20 points from 11 games.
“It’s incredible to have that points total at this stage of the season.
“There’s no reason we can’t carry that on.
“I think after ten games you can start looking at the table.
“We’ve played some good teams too, obviously Liverpool on the opening day, we’ve played Man City and put on a good show, plus a win over Everton, and a draw at Spurs, so it’s not like we’ve picked up our points against poor teams.
“It was also nice to pick up an away win at Wigan on Saturday.
“It’s been a little while coming with the points coming mainly from home games so far.
“We’re starting to make The Hawthorns a bit of a fortress now and if we can pick up away wins like we did on Saturday then the sky’s the limit.
“With the side we now have, and the way we play away from home, I think we’re definitely capable of picking up more points.”