Anichebe and Mulumbu on target for the Baggies
ALAN Irvine was satisfied with Albion’s pre-season workout as they saw off Shrewsbury 2-1 but readily acknowledges there is still a way to go until his side are fine-tuned for the start of the new campaign on August 16.
Victor Anichebe put the Baggies into an early lead at the Greenhous Meadow after just 12 minutes of the friendly encounter, only for Scott Vernon to level on the half-hour mark for the League Two hosts.
But Youssouf Mulumbu rounded off a fine move soon after to put the visitors back in front with what turned out to be the winning goal.
Irvine, in what was his first public showing since being appointed as head coach over the summer, made a raft of changes at half-time and during the second period in order to give his squad some much-needed game time.
And it was Albion who ran out deserved winners.
“It was a good workout,” he said.
“Shrewsbury are ahead of us in terms of their training so obviously it was going to be a test for our boys physically.
“We wanted to get a few of the players on for a bit longer than we managed at the weekend (against Bury).
“Everybody did 45 minutes at the weekend and we were looking to see if we could get a few more minutes into a number of the lads.
“It’s still early days, there was a real mixed bag out there.
“We did some really nice things, scored two really good goals, created some good moves but we were careless at times as well.
“We gave the ball away with some poor passing and these are things you’re hoping will improve as the lads train a bit more and certainly as we do a bit more work with them.”
Victory over the Shrews came after a 2-0 triumph against Bury in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Saturday, ensuring Albion have registered two wins from their opening two matches.
Irvine has spent just over a week working with his players since their return for pre-season training and admits he is delighted with how things have progressed to date.
And the Scot is looking forward to the club’s forthcoming training camp in the USA as he looks to take Albion’s 2014/15 preparations to the next level.
“The squad have been fantastic, they really have, they’ve trained really, really well,” Irvine said.
“They’ve gone about things in the way I would have hoped.
“There’s loads to be done, there’s absolutely no question about that. I’m delighted with how it’s gone so far.
“We do need the time during pre-season to put things in place.
“Have I started to have a great deal of impact on the lads yet? No. The focus in this first part of pre-season is on getting the players fit and getting them loads of touches of the ball.
“The tactical side of things has been really, really small so far. The game plans and strategies haven’t been put in place yet, they need to be drip-fed in. Hopefully we’ll get a lot of that work done in the USA.
“It will take us right through to the start of the season to try and get to where we want to be in terms of the squad and the options we are going to have going into the season.”