ALBION’s under-23s feel invigorated by the international break and are determined to pick up their first win of the season, says boss Jamie Smith.
The young Baggies take on Middlesbrough at Aggborough on Monday evening as they look to try and claim a maiden three points that, despite some encouraging performances, has so far evaded them.
“We feel refreshed and ready to go again,” said Smith.
“We’ve done some good work over the international break, again the boys have been excellent in training in the way they’ve gone about their business - hopefully they can now transform that onto the pitch.
“In previous games we’ve performed well - and I know I’m sounding like a bit of a broken record. We now need to just try and get a result as well.
“It’s not nice on the players to keep performing and not get results. Although it’s not the main part of their development, it is a big part of it so it’s important that we try and get a win.
“We can definitely see the improvements from last season with performances. We’ve looked at stats and our possession stats are up from last season, our attempts on target are up from last season and our final third entries are up from last season.
“So it’s very, very positive from that point of view - but the results just haven’t yet gone our way.”
Middlesbrough have had a mixed start to the new campaign, winning one, drawing one and losing two of their opening four matches.
Smith is expecting a good test from the Teessiders, and is also delighted to welcome midfielder Alex Bradley back into his squad after serving a suspension he was given at the end of last season.
“Like every game that we play, it’s going to be a tough fixture for us.
“With the first-team playing in midweek, again it might be a chance for the younger lads to impress.
“It’s good for Alex that he’s back. It’s been a long time since he last played - it’s obviously been frustrating for him to see the games go by and not be involved so it’s good he’s in the fold.”