Albion midfielder hopes to travel to US pre-season tour
LIAM O'Neil hopes that putting his close-season jollies on hold for 12 months will put him in Tony Pulis' sights for the new Barclays Premier League campaign.
While most players and staff have been away on their summer breaks, O'Neil has been a regular fixture at the club's training ground.
The 21-year-old is recovering from an ankle operation.
Each day since then has been one of fulfilling targets. Yesterday saw his first session back. He ran. He ran some more. And he did some work with the ball.
His next aim is to be on the plane that leaves the UK for next summer's tour of America's East Coast.
For him, 2015/16 is a major season - he's more than happy to give up a summer break to ensure he is ready to impress Albion's head coach.
"It's football - hopefully next year I will get a break but I just want to get fit as soon as possible," he said.
"I've been in every day and my aim now is to impress the gaffer, which is important as I've not had a chance to work with him yet."
He continued: "The rehab is going well. I put my boots on yesterday, did a bit of running, changing direction and a bit of ball work.
"The gaffer will start his preparations for the start of the season and I know I need to be fit. Hopefully with the rehab I'm doing now it won't be too long. Ideally I want to be in and around the America tour, but I couldn't say 100 per cent. As of now, I'm on the right path to achieving that."
O'Neil was hoping for some late-season action with Albion after returning from his loan spell at Scunthorpe.
His plans were ruined by the injury flaring up.
He continued: "It was very frustrating. I was doing well at Scunthorpe, getting good experience and it would have been nice to be involved in the final Premier League games but it wasn't to be.
"So now I have some making up to do in that respect.
"I have an opportunity this summer and want to take it so I can show the gaffer what I'm all about.
"I want to show him I'm hard working, someone I can trust. I've been lucky enough to play in Premier League before but you want more. This is a big year for me. It's about getting fit and then proving what I can do."