Baggies travel to Swansea on Monday night
UNDER-21 boss James Shan has set his group the challenge of gaining promotion this term.
The Baggies, who finished fifth last year, will once again compete in the Barclays U21 Premier League division two.
The division’s winners, as well as the victors of a four-team play-off, will advance through to the top league.
Shan is excited by the talent in his squad this season, with the likes of Tyler Roberts, Jonathan Leko, Joe Ward, Shaun Donnellan and Jack Fitzwater – who all travelled with the first-team for a pre-season training camp in Austria – at his disposal.
After missing out on promotion by just four points in 2014/15, Shan wants his squad to ensure that this season is more rewarding.
He said: “We have set ourselves the challenge of getting promoted this year.
“The top team goes up and the next four go into a play-off, so after finishing fifth last year we want to raise the bar.
“A few of our boys have been away with the senior squad in pre-season and that experience is priceless for them.
“It would have been a great test for them, mentally, physically and technically and hopefully that will benefit the Under-21 group too.”
Albion start their campaign against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium on Monday night (ko 7pm) and Shan is expecting a tricky opening test.
“We haven’t had much footage of Swansea but we have come across them plenty of times before in various academy games at different levels,” said Baggies’ boss.
“They are a product of their first-team and I would expect them to play a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 formation.
“They like to dominate possession just like us, so the challenge will be to try and control the game and ensure that it isn’t an open encounter.”