Midfielder wants 'Pride of the Midlands' crown
LIAM O’Neil says Albion's Under-21 squad have their sights set on becoming the ‘pride of the Midlands’ tonight as they welcome Villa to The Hawthorns.
The 21-year-old has played a key role for Albion in the Barclays U21 Premier League so far this season, starting all five games.
O’Neil has also featured for the senior side, making his full debut in Albion’s 3-2 Capital One Cup third-round victory over Hull in September.
The midfielder revealed both he and the rest of the Under-21 squad are relishing the chance to play against their local rivals at The Hawthorns.
“It’s a big game and one that the lads have all been looking forward to,” said O’Neil.
“Of course we want to win and be the pride of the Midlands.
“Derby games always have an edge to them, but if we perform well as a group then we have a great opportunity to come away with the three points.
“It will be a tough game but all the lads are ready to prove themselves.
“We go into the game confident, hopefully we can perform and get the win.”
Albion Under-21 coaches Jimmy Shan and Darren Moore have seen their side win three and lose two of their first five fixtures in the Barclays U21 Premier League.
And O’Neil admits that the pair have impressed the players with their ideas and coaching methods.
He said: “Mooro and Jimmy have been great so far.
“Their coaching is helping the lads and the progress is there for all to see.
“We have a young side with promising talent.
“All the lads are eager to achieve and improve.
“It’s a results industry, but at this age it is also about development.
“There have been ups and downs so far this season.
“There are games where we should have got three points this season.
“As a group we are learning from this."