JAMIE Smith says he and his under-23s team are “really excited” for their campaign to get underway on Monday.
The young Baggies begin the 2018/19 Premier League 2 Division Two season by hosting Newcastle United at the Palm Training Ground.
And Jamie is looking forward to starting the new challenge after a positive summer that saw them play the likes of Leamington, Kidderminster and Chasetown as well as spend time training in Czech Republic.
“Pre-season has been very good. The lads have applied themselves really well,” he said.
“It’s been successful from a physical point of view, and on the pitch - even though people talk about pre-season results not mattering - for me I feel like they do and we did well.
“We went unbeaten and it gives us good momentum going into a season which we’re really looking forward to.
“Pre-season’s not the favourite time for the players and the coaches as well, so we’re really excited to get into the nitty-gritty of it and get underway now.
“We’re expecting a tough game from Newcastle. We had some difficult games against them last season and we’re expecting nothing different this time.”
Albion’s PL2 side endured a difficult campaign last time out, but Smith is hopeful that experience will put them in good stead to push on and continue to progress in the coming months.
“Some of the older under-23s players have gone out on loan so we could be a young side again,” he explained.
“But having that year’s experience from the last campaign, and we’ve already started to see it in pre-season with some of the things we’ve encountered, that they’re definitely better prepared this season to deal with that.
“We just want to keep the players improving. Hopefully from a team perspective we can get more points on the board and win more games, because ultimately that’s what you strive to do - as well as get more of these young players into the first-team squad."