Brandon Thomas-Asante says the best thing about pre-season is being reunited with his team-mates after the summer break.
The Baggies squad reported back for the first session of the new campaign on Tuesday, six weeks on from the final game of the 2022/23 term.
Thomas-Asante, who is now into his second season at The Hawthorns, has been taking part in a number of physical tests which allow the club’s medical staff to determine the level of each player’s fitness.
The striker says the screening is important, but admits he can’t wait to see the footballs come back out again and get down to tactical work with the group.
He said: “I know this sounds cringey, but seeing all the boys and the staff again has been brilliant and I was buzzing to see everyone.
“It was a long season last year so everyone went away here, there and everywhere over summer.
“We didn’t really see each other during the off-season but coming back in, catching up and getting into the swing of things again has been really enjoyable.
“I think you really miss the feeling of being out on the grass. Obviously we haven’t had the balls out as much as we would’ve liked so far, but that’s all part of pre-season. It’s been really fun being back in.
“There’s been a lot of testing so far so the medical and sports science teams can gather information about where the boys are at. It’s important for them to see how well we’ve maintained ourselves, which, credit to the boys, has been really good. Everyone has been on it during the summer.
“There’s a lot of screening and analysis at this stage, but slowly now we’ll start to move into the direction of where we need to be in pre-season so we can be in the best shape possible to attack the campaign.
“The work we’re doing at the moment is very physical, but as the days and weeks progress more of the tactical work will be carried out, which we’re all looking forward to.”
Brandon spent plenty of time with his family during the summer break, including his son, his parents and his sister.
The striker, who won the club’s top goalscorer award last term, says time spent with loved ones is a “blessing”.
“I actually came in to the training ground on a few occasions over the break and I saw some of the staff who were still working.
“I couldn’t stay away too much, but I did really enjoy my break and having time with my family.
“My little one is just shy of a year old so I wanted to get as many precious moments in as possible, so being with him was a blessing.
“I managed to get away for a few days to Morocco. My mom, my dad and my sister were all there. We all needed a bit of rest so being by the pool and in the sun for a short while was really good.”
The Baggies’ Sky Bet Championship fixtures were announced on Thursday morning, with a trip to Blackburn Rovers first up on Saturday, August 5.
Albion also have games against Swansea City, Leeds United and Middlesbrough in the opening month of the campaign, and Brandon says he’s pleased his side have been handed matches against teams who will have points to prove early on.
“There’s certainly a lot of tough opposition in that opening month of the season, but, to be fair, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It allows us the opportunity to send a message out in terms of what we want to achieve and where we want to be this season.
“If we can come out of those games in a positive position it will stand us in good stead for the rest of the campaign.
“I’m really looking forward to those games already.
“There’s a few fixtures I always look out for for two reasons really. On one hand you got teams where I have some mates playing such as Huddersfield, Rotherham and Watford. It’ll be nice getting those games in.
“You’ve also got the ones against teams who we didn’t get positive results against last year and we’ll be wanting revenge.
“We dropped points in games which we shouldn’t have last year and we want to make up for that this year.”