Match Previews

Smith: Positivity key to maiden win

ALBION’s under-23s boss Jamie Smith believes that a positive attitude is crucial to his side earning their first victory of the new Premier League 2 Division Two season.

The young Baggies travel to face Reading at Adams Park on Friday night (ko 7pm) as they look to bounce back from a narrow defeat to Middlesbrough earlier in the week - another game where their encouraging performance didn’t quite match the result.

 “I just keep telling the team to stay positive. It’s been disappointing from a results point of view, but certainly from a performance point of view it hasn't been,” said Jamie. 

“And that’s what I keep drumming in to them. We’re competing in games, we’re not a million miles away.

“As I keep saying - the difference from last season in the games is there for all to see, and the stats back that up with the amount of possession we’re having and chances we’re creating.

“We’ve just got to stay positive, and keep the lads positive. It’s difficult for them, I know it’s more about development but, as I’ve mentioned before, winning is a big part of their development.”

Reading have made a good start to their PL2 campaign, picking up two wins, two draws and just the one loss from their opening five fixtures.

The Royals have also scored the most goals in the division so far (13), and Smith is anticipating a real test for his Albion side down in the South East.

“It’ll be very tough. We’ve watched lots of clips and videos of Reading and we’re expecting a really hard game against a physical side, and a side that’s also good technically and tactically. It’ll be another good challenge for us,” he added.

“They’ve got a really good academy set-up that’s renowned in this country for developing players.

There’s a number of players that they’ve brought through their system and into the first-team and beyond.

“We’re expecting to have pretty much the same team that played on Monday.

“The lads like Rekeem Harper, Jonathan Leko and Kyle Edwards need games. It can be difficult at times when they’re in-between the first-team and the under-23s, so it’s important that they get their share of game time.”

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