Bruce: 'It’s a vital week'

Bruce training 2

Steve Bruce believes Albion have a “vital” week ahead of them in their efforts to chase down a spot in the top six of the Sky Bet Championship.

The Baggies return to action following the first international break of 2022 with a trip to local rivals Birmingham City on Sunday, before hosting AFC Bournemouth on Wednesday and then Stoke City on Saturday at The Hawthorns.

Bruce’s men sit 12th in the table and seven points off sixth with eight remaining matches ahead of the latest round of fixtures.

And the boss insists all his side can do is “win a big chunk of the games”, starting with three points at his former club Birmingham this weekend.


Bruce said: “It’s always a great occasion, a derby game. We’ve got to look forward to the challenge of it.

“I really enjoy them, derby games. I absolutely loved them as a player. They bring something else to the game, a little edge to it all.

“It’s always nice to go back to Birmingham. I’ve been in football for 40 years and almost ten of them were spent at Blues as a player and a manager. 

“It was a long, long time ago but they were happy days so it is always nice to go back.

“It’s in Birmingham’s DNA a little bit to be so hard-working and so willing to fight for everything on the pitch. The supporters demand that. In Lee Bowyer they have the ideal manager to go and give them all of that.

“We have to be ready for the physical challenge. I don’t expect it to be a pretty game of football, but we have to be ready to roll our sleeves up.

Bruce Blackburn

“The only thing we can do is win a big chunk of the remaining games we have. We’ve got a big week coming up and you’re looking at it thinking we probably need to win two of our three games at the very least.

“Forget other results, we need to focus on putting ourselves in the mix. I’ll be challenging the players to go and win the vast majority of our fixtures. 

“We know we are capable, we’ve seen it against Fulham. But we’ve also had a poor first-half performance at Bristol City. We’ve got to erase the inconsistency and find consistency quick.

“This week is the most vital week.”

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