Match Previews

Shan: It's must win

JAMES Shan admitted it’s win or bust for his under-23 side ahead of their Premier League Cup game at Sheffield United on Thursday afternoon.

Albion are currently sat fourth in Group E having won one of their opening four games, but can still finish in the top two and qualify for the next round if they win their remaining two matches and other results go their way. 

“It’s pretty much must win, this game,” said Shan.

“If we lose then we’re definitely out, but if we win then it goes down to the final game.

“Hopefully we can build on the momentum from our last game in the competition when we won against Ipswich.”

The under-23s boss also spoke about an uplift in results that his side has endured since the turn of the year, with Shan’s young Baggies winning three of their last five games in all competitions.

“When you have a younger group you’re always going to find it difficult, first and foremost, with the physicality at the start because they need time to mature,” he added.

“We’ve got five players who have played nearly every minute of every game for us who are first year scholars. A few months ago they were sat in school in a classroom.

“I think there’s been a lot of hard work out on the training pitch, and then we’ve just given them that time to grow. 

“I kind of always knew in the back of my head that the results wouldn’t mirror the first half of the season. 

“I’m not saying we’re going to be turning teams over and winning every week, but I thought we’d be more competitive because of those signs towards the back end of last year.”

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