Kevin Mfuamba wants Albion’s academy hopefuls to be aggressive in their duels when they host Arsenal at Keys Park on Monday night (ko 7pm).
There’s been much to ponder for the young midfielder and his teammates since their derby defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers last time around and although three defeats has provided plenty for Richard Beale’s charges to work on, improvements were shown in their recent loss.
One of which, as Mfuamba highlights, was the aggression shown by the young Baggies to forge positive openings against their Black Country counterparts, and the 17-year-old believes similar levels will be required if they’re to get the better of the Gunners in Staffordshire.
“What we hope to do is turn things around quickly now, show a positive reaction and use the Arsenal game to start a run,” said Kevin.
“The Wolves game was frustrating because we started the game positively, created many chances but unfortunately didn’t take them.
“At PL2 level, and especially as you work up to first team level in your career, if you don’t take your opportunities, that’s when you get punished.
“Being aggressive is something we did in the Wolves game and it was nice to see an an improvement on that front, but we have to continue to show that side of our game to show our opponents they won’t be in for an easy game.
“Seeing a lot of the academy players involved in the Aldershot FA Cup was an eye-opener for the whole academy and people outside of the club.
“It showed everyone that there’s opportunities here and being on the bench for that game only made me want to work even harder to continue getting those experiences, get closer to senior football and hopefully make an appearance myself in the near future.
“I’ve been able to see to senior players up close this year. Hopefully, by learning how they play, seeing what they do to get them in the starting XI every week and adapt it into my game will not only better prepare me, but also improve my overall game.
“There’s been lots of ups and downs but that’s the professional level and football can be such an unpredictable sport. It’s about how you manage the setbacks and be the best you can be off the back of those difficult moments.
“Being in between different teams allows me to better my game, gain confidence and new experiences. It’s about finding solutions and working hard every day to be the best player I can be.
“Arsenal are a big team who everyone wants to beat due to their resources but we don’t look at the badge. We want to play our game and better ourselves, but this match is definitely a motivation for us to do well in and we’re raring to go.”
How to follow the match
Tickets will be available on the gate at Keys Park for Albion's PL2 clash against Arsenal on Monday night.
They are priced at £5 adults and £1 concessions, while Albion season ticket holders are able to watch the game for free.