Chris Brunt insists maintaining “match sharpness” is crucial when waiting for an opportunity to break into Slaven Bilić’s starting XI.
The Baggies Club captain completed 90 minutes in a 4-3 victory over Mansfield Town in the Central League at the training ground on Tuesday afternoon with the boss watching on from the sidelines.
It was a game which ‘Brunty’ asked to feature in having identified the clash with the Stags as a chance to get valuable match minutes under his belt ahead of Saturday’s return to Sky Bet Championship action at Fulham.
And the midfielder, who is yet to start in the league under the Croatian Head Coach, says every player must be ready to perform when called upon.
Brunt said: “It was good to get 90 minutes in on Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s important to play games and keep your sharpness up when you aren’t involved in the starting XI on matchdays.
“I felt fit, strong and in good condition which was nice.
“We’ve got a really competitive squad here and we have some exceptional talent so everyone has to be patient when it comes to getting an opportunity.
“It’s no good being handed an opportunity if you aren’t going to be ready to take it in terms of performing well and being in the best physical condition to impress.
“I asked the manager and the coaching staff if I could play in the game because I want to make sure I am ready when called upon.
“I haven’t played too much this season and I saw the game as an opportunity to get some valuable minutes and sharpen up.
“Training keeps you fit but playing games keeps you sharp and the game on Tuesday was a perfect chance for the lads who haven’t been playing much to get some valuable time out on the pitch in a competitive environment.
“We all want to make sure that we are in the best possible condition to impress and perform well when handed an opportunity to play.
“In a 46-game season everyone has to be ready to step in at any given time so it’s important to take any opportunity to get the minutes in.”