Deon Burton says the progression of Albion’s PL2 players is the most important marker of success for the young Baggies ahead of their Premier League Two Division Two clash with Fulham at Aggborough Stadium on Monday (ko 7pm).
Burton has had an impressive run of results while taking charge of the young Throstles despite his side falling to a 3-1 defeat against Manchester United on Monday.
However, Deon says performances and progression will always be the primary focus when assessing the achievements of the team.
“We don’t really look at the league table,” said Deon.
“I might have heard once in the last month about being third - I don’t think anyone really knew or realised we had done so well over a period and got ourselves into that position. We have had a few first-team players drop down which has helped develop some of the under-23s players, and being around quality players can only help their development - however when we have just had under-23s players we have been just as good.
“It’s good to have a good league position but it’s not the be all and end all. As long as the boys are still learning and taking on the information and we are seeing positive outcomes then we will be okay. You want to finish as high as you can, and anywhere above last season you could probably say it is a progression, but for us as a club the position where we finish doesn’t matter - developing the players to be the best they can be when they are called upon to be around the first-team or to train with them then they are ready, that matters.
“It was a really positive run out against Man United. We took a deserved lead and dominated the first half. We just couldn’t keep the same intensity and pressure that we did in the first half into the second. We knew they were going to come at us in the second half and put us under pressure.
“It didn’t really help losing Jamie Soule to injury - we had to rearrange it and we didn’t have an out ball as a number nine. Saying that, we still had quite a lot of opportunities in the second half to win the game - and we missed a penalty.
“A few wrong decisions cost us on the night which allowed them to score their goals. If we nullified the mistakes and took our chances we could have probably won comfortably.
“Fulham are going to come at us. They are a young and enthusiastic team. We have already played them once this season and won 3-1 so they could be coming up to get their own back but if we can put in the same performance we did against Man United and play as positively as we did I think we will be fine. We go into it with the same mindset, the boys have still been working on the same parts of their game in order to get a result.”