Regis Shield involvement a 'privilege'

SAM Johnstone is set to make his Hawthorns bow on a special afternoon.

Albion host Coventry City on Saturday in the inaugural Regis Shield - a commemorative fixture in tribute to the football great.

And on what promises to be another emotional occasion, summer-signing Sam is in line to feature for the first time in front of the Baggies faithful.

"It's a privilege to play in it, to celebrate Cyrille's career and his life," said our young stopper.

"It was of course sad news that he passed away but it's great that we're making this a yearly thing.

"I'm sure the other players feel the same way and can't wait to be a part of it. It'll be a great atmosphere and the crowd will show their respect."

And with just nine days to go until the start of the 2018/19 Sky Bet Championship season, Sam's itching to get a glimpse of his new stadium.

"I'm looking forward to it [playing at The Hawthorns]. It'll be a new thing for me and it's good that the game's there.

"I've never played there before so it'll be good to get into the surroundings. I can't wait to get going.

"When you've been off all summer and worked hard in pre-season you just want to get everything underway and get off to winning ways."

The former Manchester United man has had to work harder than most during the pre-season calendar, continuing his recovery from a minor groin complaint.

But now he's ready and raring to go, adding: "It's nice to be back training. Obviously this is a new club for me and a new chapter.

"It's been frustrating with this slight groin problem that we've had to manage. But hopefully I'm more or less there now.

"That's part of playing football, you get knocks. The physios here have been great with me and we're coming out the back end of it now.

"Training has been sharp. We all can't wait for the first game."

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