Club News

No Hillsborough return for Brunt

Injured skipper disappointed to miss out

CHRIS Brunt is gutted to be missing Albion’s pre-season trip to former club Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday (ko 3pm).

The Northern Ireland international enjoyed three years at Hillsborough before joining the Baggies in August 2007 but will miss this weekend’s game due to a niggling calf injury.

The 27-year-old is disappointed at missing the opportunity of playing on his old stomping ground, while also harbouring frustration at sustaining the injury that has disrupted his pre-season preparations.

“I’ve had a couple of decent days this week and I’m hoping that if everything goes all right I’ll be back in full training next week,” said Brunt.

“Touch wood, everybody else is fine and it’s just been me on my own doing rehab.

“It’s really frustrating because I’ve missed out on a lot of fitness work as well.

“Also, I haven’t played any football yet – other than the few training sessions I've got involved in.

“The nature of the injury means it’s difficult for me to run on it, which is a bit of a nightmare.

“If I want to be involved against Liverpool on the opening day, I’m going to have to play some football.”

He added: “Ever since this fixture was announced, I’ve been excited about going back to Hillsborough.

“It’s one of those things and, unfortunately, it’s not worth taking a risk over, because it could set me back more.

“But I’ll probably go up to the game anyway.

“I haven’t been back for a while so it will give me chance to head up there.”

Brunt chose not to celebrate after scoring the final goal in Albion’s 4-0 Hillsborough victory during the 2009/10 promotion-winning campaign.

And the Baggies skipper believes he owes a lot to the Owls after joining them on a free transfer following his release from Middlesbrough in April 2004.

“The last time I was there I got a good reception and I’m disappointed to miss out," he said.

“It’s always nice to go back to your old club and to get the result we did last time was great.

“To drop down a couple of levels and still play for a big club, in front of big crowds, was very fortunate.

“They gave me a chance to play first-team football and I’ll always be grateful to them for giving me that chance.

“It’s a good place to play football and I was pretty lucky to get the chance to play there.

“Pre-season games are different but I’m still disappointed to miss out.

“I really enjoyed my time there and I made some good friends.

“There are still mates of mine playing and working for Wednesday and it will be nice to see them as well.”