Charlie Austin says he’s up to speed following a frustrating summer and believes now is the time to show Albion fans what he’s all about.
The former Swindon, Burnley, QPR and Southampton striker has netted 151 goals in his career but has not yet bagged for the Baggies.
And Austin, who admits he’s been happy with his last two performances against Fulham and Huddersfield, hopes he can get off the mark for Albion on his return to Loftus Road on Saturday (ko 12.30pm).
“I feel good,” he said. “It’s well documented what happened before, I had six weeks with the under-23s doing nothing. Ask any top professional, you can do as much as you can, but if you’re not involved with the first team you’re not going to be up to speed.
“Six weeks down the line I feel good, I feel a lot fitter, a lot stronger, I feel I’ve shown that in my last two performances. I’ve come on leaps and bounds and now hopefully the Albion fans will see the real me.
“It’d be nice, of course [to score on Saturday], but more than anything it will be nice to get off the mark in the league.
“I’ve scored 151 goals and nothing’s changed, I know what I’m doing. I’ve seen it everywhere, on social media, they’re saying ‘any chance of him scoring?’ Listen, I back myself every time I go across the white line.
“If I wasn’t getting the chances then I’d be questioning myself but I’m getting the chances and with the group of players we’ve got now I’m going to get bundles of chances. I’m going to get plenty of goals for West Brom this year, there’s no doubt about that.”
Austin insists his team-mates have shown great character to come from behind to earn points in seven of their opening eight games but says it’s time to stop going behind.
“It’s going to be a tough game,” he said of Saturday’s trip to Loftus Road. “They’re only a point behind us and they’re there on merit, they play some good football. We’re unbeaten, we’re expected to be up there, we’re expected to put in performances that we have done, but we expect performances to be better.
“We don’t want to keep conceding and going behind in games. It’s great character to keep coming back in games but we need to put that to bed and really start a game off well. We need to be on the front foot, I think we need to go there on Saturday and be on the front foot. We are the away side but we are expected to win.
“The squad that we’ve got we’re in the right position, eight games in with 16 points, one point off top. There are three more games before the international break and I feel like the team are in a perfect position. Not many people are talking about us because the other teams are doing ok.
“I think we’ll be solid throughout the season and we won’t give anybody a reason to give us any criticism. Of course there will be times when we’re below par, it’s a long 46-game season, but we’ll overrun that with the better performances we’re going to produce.”