Skipper puts flying start down to team's Prem know-how
CHRIS Brunt believes Albion's flying start to the season is down to some good old Barclays Premier League know-how.
The skipper, who made his first league start of the season against Reading, claims the club are benefiting from the foundations laid over the past five years.
Brunt, the club's second longest-serving player behind in-form James Morrison, reckons Albion are reaping the rewards of holding onto their best performers and gradually improving the squad.
It means that Steve Clarke has strength in depth to choose from, both in terms of ability and, equally as crucial, top-flight experience.
“Mozza has started the season well after a good season last year," said Brunt.
“He’s a good player and if the club keep holding onto the better players, and the more experienced players who have been here a long time, that bodes well.
“There is a group of us who have been here five or six seasons and hopefully, if we can add Jonas signing a new contract to that, we will be moving in the right direction.
“We've brought in the likes of Claudio, Markus and others this summer and the important thing is that we know how to win games in the Premier League now.
"That takes a bit of experience.
“If you look across the squad, we’ve got a lot of Premier League experience and that speaks volumes in games like Saturday, when it’s scrappy and not free-flowing.
“We know how to win games and we did it again against Reading."
Brunt believes Albion's progress is a result of the sensible manner in which the board operates.
“Since I have been here, it’s been a fair, well-run club," added the Northern Ireland international.
“The board have always seemed to reward players for doing well.
“I have seen it called a 'core group of players' and if you look at most clubs, they do have a group with a bit of experience who have been there a few years.
“In the Premier League, that does go a long way, especially in games when things aren’t going as well as you’d want them to and the crowd are getting a bit frustrated against teams you’re expected to beat.
“We don’t have massively old players but it’s important to have experienced heads. It counts for a lot.”
Brunt is delighted to have got plenty of game time under his belt in recent weeks after his pre-season preparations were hampered by a niggling calf problem.
But he says one quick look at Saturday's bench means neither he nor any of his team-mates can take their starting place for granted.
Brunt added: “It was nice to be in from the start against Reading because the lads have done really well so far this season.
“I enjoyed the game. It wasn’t pretty but it’s another 90 minutes under my belt.
"I’m sure I’ll benefit from it going into the next few weeks.
“I have felt pretty good recently and the two internationals probably helped.
“Playing 45 minutes with ten men at Fulham was difficult but that probably helped me.
"Training has also helped. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve done a lot of work and the gaffer has got good options.
“It’s nice that he can make two or three changes on a Saturday and still come away with a clean sheet and three points.
“That says a lot for our squad.
“You’ve only got to look at the bench to see how strong we are at the moment. We’ve got three or four internationals as subs.
“That’s credit to the lads on the pitch and also to the players we brought in in the summer.
“Over the last couple of years, we’ve steadily added to the squad and the status of the club in the Premier League is attracting a lot more players.
"That’s going to make us stronger - but it’s early days yet."