James Shan’s side can leapfrog opponents with victory
JAMES Shan’s Under-21 side will climb to the top of the Barclays U21 Premier League division two, with a win at current leaders Newcastle United this afternoon (1pm ko).
Albion’s youngsters sit third in the table, two points behind The Magpies who occupy first position ahead of neighbours Middlesbrough on goal difference.
With the Teesiders not playing until Friday night, today’s fixture gives The Baggies the chance to leapfrog both North-East teams.
And speaking ahead of the game, Shan admitted that the opportunity to become the division's frontrunners will be a massive incentive for his players.
He said: “It is obviously a big game for us because if we win we can go top.
“That will provide big motivation for the lads, and it will be a reward for their hard work that they have put in during the season so far.
“Newcastle have been up there all season and they have some outstanding individual players.
“They have a clear way of playing and will know all about us, so the match may play out like a game of chess.”
Shan will be without ‘keeper Jack Rose for this afternoon’s clash, as the 20-year-old continues his stint with the first-team in the absence of the injured Boaz Myhill.
Birmingham-born Rose made Albion’s bench for the first time on Saturday in the 3-0 home defeat to Spurs, and the Under-21 Coach was understandably delighted to see his regular No.1 involved with the senior squad.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for Jack, he is a player who we have high hopes for,” said Shan.
“He recently had a successful loan spell with Accrington, and he won’t be phased by being in and around the first-team.
“To be spending time with the senior squad will be priceless for his development, and it has been great to see all of the Under-21 boys buzzing for him.”