Match Previews

Smith on ‘important’ Bournemouth trip

JAMIE Smith’s under-23s travel down to Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium tonight for their second Premier League Cup fixture of the season (ko 7pm).

The young Baggies won their opening Group C clash against Liverpool at The Hawthorns last month thanks to Callum Morton’s penalty, with the match coming in the midst of their impressive seven-game unbeaten spell across all competitions.

And Jamie is hoping his side can pick up a positive result down on the South Coast this evening to help rediscover that good form and put recent defeats to Southampton PL2 and Accrington Stanley behind them.

“It’s important we build on that result against Liverpool in the opening game of this competition,” he said.

“It’s been a tough couple of weeks results-wise, but as with all the games so far this season the performances have still been good.

“That’s a credit to the players for their work and consistency. The first-half at Southampton was the first time this season that I was a little disappointed with our performance because we didn't get going until the second-half.

“Not only has there been a lot of games lately but we’ve also had a lot of travelling to do with those games.

“It’s been good though. Players prefer games to training so for them this little run has been enjoyable for them.

“We’ve obviously not been able to do as much on the training pitch because of that, so we’ve modified our usual training schedule with shorter sessions and used plenty of the recovery sessions and strategies that have been put in place by the sports science and medical department.

“It gives us a chance to do more analysis work in the classroom as well, so the players are still learning and developing from these matches.”

Bournemouth were 7-1 winners over Burnley in their first PL Cup game of the season, and Smith believes his side will have to be at their very best to get a result against The Cherries.

He added: “Having watching some footage it’s clear that they are a free scoring team so we will have to be solid defensively.

“They, like the first-team, play an attractive style of football so it’ll be another tough game for us - but one we’re definitely looking forward to.”