Albion PL2 boss Richard Beale can’t wait to see his side back in competitive action when they host Newcastle United at the club’s training ground on Monday evening (ko 5pm).
The Baggies’ youngsters, like the first team, enjoyed a rigorous pre-season in Portugal before gaining important minutes against various non-league and academy sides back on English soil.
But boss Beale knows how important Premier League 2 football is for his players' push to reach the next level, and sees the Magpies’ visit to B71 as an ideal first test for his side.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to starting our competitive matches now.
“There’s been a lot of hard work during pre-season from the players and we’re expecting a performance which reflects the club and the basics which we demand.
“We want to test our players against the best clubs and we’re really happy to be playing at this level, but it’s up to the lads to show their quality.
“But as we know, the U23s level isn’t the level the boys want to get to. We want to show their quality, excel at this level and along with their ability if they do all of those things, the results will come.
“Whatever gaps there are in the schedule this season, we’ll fill them with high-quality friendly games.
“But less teams in the league this year won’t affect how the boys approach games. Every match the players are fighting for their careers or their next contract and whether that’s a friendly, league or cup game at this level, they have to go and perform every single week.
“Each team will be competitive this year and we’re looking forward to testing ourselves, starting against Newcastle on Monday.”