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McManaman targets flying start

17 July 2015

McManaman hit the net against Orlando City

CALLUM McManaman is keen to build further on an already pleasing pre-season to date in order to ensure he hits the ground running come the start of the new Barclays Premier League campaign.

The winger scored his first goal in Albion colours in Wednesday’s 3-1 friendly defeat against Orlando City on the club’s pre-season tour of USA.

He enjoyed 80 minutes at the Citrus Bowl, coming on the back of 50 minutes against Red Bull Salzburg at the end of a tough nine-day training camp in Austria.

McManaman was Tony Pulis’ first January signing but was hampered by a heel injury sustained soon after his arrival at The Hawthorns, eventually going on to feature in four of the club's final five matches last term.

And, speaking in Florida after his impressive performance against MLS outfit Orlando, he stressed he is keen to put his injury frustrations behind him and establish himself firmly in Albion’s plans.

“Hopefully I can be involved in every game and get a few 90-minute run-outs under my belt before the start of the season so that I can be flying when we get going," he said.

“I was definitely pleased with the goal. The way it went in was a bit scrappy but I was pleased to get off the mark and hopefully I can get a few more now.

“I am back up to full speed. I’ve got no injuries so hopefully I can get some full games under my belt before the season and I will be flying.”

McManaman added: “I was a bit unlucky getting injured in training in the first few weeks but I got back in the side towards the end of last season and hopefully I can get my place in the team from the start this season.

“I feel a lot sharper now. I'm hoping I can stay on the pitch, start most games and get at players because that’s what fans want to see.

“Hopefully I can beat a few men when I get the ball and stay in the team.

“That’s what the gaffer tells me to do every time I get the ball and if I keep doing that, which is my game, I’ll be okay.”

Albion face Charleston Battery tonight (ko 7.30pm USA/12.30am UK) in the second of their three matches in the US, with Richmond Kickers the final opponents on Sunday (ko 5.30pm USA/10.30pm UK).

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