Tony Pulis reflects on Hong Kong experience

ALBION head coach Tony Pulis knows what his players will have to cope with as they make their debut in the Premier League Asia Trophy.

The Baggies are back in the Far East for the first time in 39 years to compete alongside Leicester City, Crystal Palace and Liverpool in Hong Kong.

But for Pulis, it's the chance to re-tread his steps from 1981 when he spent a brief spell at the local Happy Valley club - an experience set up by a former Albion manager.

"I had a phone call from Ron Wylie when I was at Bristol Rovers - he was working in Hong Kong at the time.

"He invited me over and it was an opportunity for me as I was getting married the following year.

"I was still quite a young person when I was there and it was a shock to the system.

"To go over and see how people lived, having only lived in the western world, there was a massive difference.

"The weather and humidity, when I first went over there, was really horrendous but I grew into it and I really, really enjoyed it.

"There were some wonderful people there - Happy Valley was a fantastic club and for a long time, until we moved, the first Christmas card we received was from them.

"I've got great memories of the place and great memories of the seven or eight months I spent there.

"We did well on the football field as well so all in all it was a wonderful experience."

That pressure cooker humidity will be one more opponent for Albion to deal with during this showcase tournament.

They have already had a taste with their first training session early today conducted amid a torrential downpour and temperatures in the 80s - despite a 7am starting time.

Pulis added: "Of course we want to win both games here but we are only into the second week of training so we are not at full tilt yet. The mot important thing is to get the players through the 60, 80 or 90 minutes that they play fit."

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