Youngsters have impressed so far this season
ALBION Under-21s kick-off 2015 with a home fixture against Reading in the Barclays U21 Premier League at the training ground this afternoon (1pm ko), and boss James Shan is keen for his players to start the new year in the same fashion in which they finished 2014.
The youngsters have produced some eye-catching performances so far this season, boasting a record of five victories, two draws and two defeats from nine league games.
Several members of the squad have also gained valuable first-team experience out on loan in the Football League, including Liam O’Neil (Scunthorpe), Kemar Roofe (Colchester), Donervorn Daniels (Blackpool), Jack Rose (Accrington) and Wesley Atkinson (Cambridge).
Today’s visitors sit just one point and one position behind The Baggies in sixth place, and according to Shan, will provide a stern test for his side.
“Reading are a very good, well organised team,” said the Under-21 Coach.
“They are a team who I came up against quite a lot when I was working with the Under-18s, and I know that their staff have them very well prepared.
“Having watched them in a few games and knowing the squad of players, I am sure that they will provide us with a great test.
“Like us they have a clear way of playing and pose a dangerous attacking threat.”
Shan handed his players six days off over the Christmas period, but called the group in for sessions to match the senior side’s training schedule.
He said: “The lads were in for training over Christmas on the days that the first-team were in, so they have had a total of six days off from December, 21.
“We felt it was a great opportunity to offload the players in a period where there were no Under-21 games.
“It was important to have the boys in over Christmas to familiarise them with the festive programme.”