Bruce braced for Baggies bow at Bramall Lane

Bruce training

Steve Bruce insists he wants to make an instant impact at Albion and says picking up three points at Sheffield United would be an “enormous help”.

Bruce takes charge of the Baggies for the very first time on Wednesday night in what will be his 1,001st match as a manager, against the club where life in the dugout all began for him almost 25 years ago.

The 61-year-old’s bow as a boss came for the Blades when they faced Swindon Town on the opening day of the 1998/99 Division One campaign, with Bruce returning to Bramall Lane targeting a winning start to his tenure at Albion.

And the club’s new manager believes the midweek battle in Yorkshire is one his side should be “really looking forward to”, while also tasking his players to “enjoy the challenge”.

He said: “We have to get off to a positive start. That’s got to be the aim and probably the reason I am sitting here.

“As football managers, we’ve got to do one thing these days. That’s get results. If you get into a bit of a sticky patch, that can’t go on for too long because we know the consequences.

“That’s the way it is now and I think we all accept it.

“My job is to see if we can hit the ground running and make a bit of an impact.

“When we step into a new job we would all like a result and a response. It helps enormously.

“After Sheffield United, we’ve got 16 games to play. It’s all to play for.

“We know all of their players. The vast majority of their team is the team that got them up and kept them up in the Premier League before their relegation last season.

“They’ve got some very good players and just like us, you would have expected Sheffield United to be there or thereabouts. Certainly at the start of the season, you’d be thinking that they’ve got a good chance of promotion. 

“It’ll be a big attendance and a great atmosphere I’m sure. It’ll be a really, really good game to look forward to. Let’s enjoy it and enjoy the challenge. 

“We know it’s a big challenge, but that’s what the Championship is.

“If you are going anywhere in the Championship, and Sheffield United is one of the bigger tests, you’ll always get a challenge.

“We need to be ready for it and try our best to give our travelling fans something to shout about.”

Bruce takes over at The Hawthorns with Albion having won just one of their last seven league matches.

And the experienced boss says he’s worked hard to inject new confidence into the group during his opening days in charge. 

“My first few days here at Albion have been very enjoyable.

“It’s been great to be back in work and the people here at the club have made my staff and I feel very welcome.

“When you’re in the middle of a bit of a bad run, you have to try and inject a bit of confidence into the team. Hopefully they’ll respond to what we’re trying to do.

“I certainly think the players have enjoyed training. The proof will be in the pudding. We’ve got to get a few results now and get them quickly.

“We’ve got some very, very good players for the Championship. We need to harness them and point them in the right direction.”

Watch the full WBA TV video interview above.

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