Chris Brunt discusses 'excitement' & 'passion' of Black Country derby

Chris Brunt celebrates scoring against Wolves at The Hawthorns in October 2011

Albion legend Chris Brunt has been speaking to WBA TV ahead of Sunday’s clash with local rivals Wolves in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup.

The former midfielder discussed a range of topics, including his initial reaction to the draw, the passion on display in a Black Country derby, his memories of playing and scoring in this fixture, Peter Odemwingie’s iconic treble in 2012 and the opportunity to become a Baggies hero.

Check out what Brunty had to say below.

His reaction to the draw...

"The draw was clearly one of the best ones we could have had looking at all of the teams who were left.

"It’s been a long time since we’ve had a game against Wolves at The Hawthorns so it’s one for everyone to get excited about.

"The manager and his coaching staff haven’t experienced this game before.

"I’m sure it’ll be a good day out for everyone and hopefully we can get a result."

Chris Brunt leading Albion out against Wolves at The Hawthorns in October 2011

The passion involved in this fixture...

"You’ve got to be passionate going into every derby. We didn’t get too many against Wolves when I was here as a player.

"We sort of missed each other when we were in the Premier League and they were in a lower division and then vice versa.

"It’s one of those where you’ll see all the fans talking about it this week and there’ll be a massive build up to the game.

"Everyone will be excited and they’ll all be hoping Albion can beat Wolves on Sunday. It’s almost like, for one game only, it doesn’t matter what happens in the league, it’s just a case of making sure Albion beat Wolves.

"As a player, our lads will need to take that out of the equation and just play it as a normal game.

"The atmosphere will be brilliant. Our lads will just need to try and keep a level head and play the game in front of them.

"I’m sure the manager will be telling them that. You can see the way we play, we’re very well-drilled and tactically, especially at home, we’re very astute, so he’ll be drilling that into the players this week."

Albion fans cheering on their team against Wolves in a previous fixture

On waiting over a decade for a Black Country derby with fans...

"It’s been a long time since we had a proper competitive game with fans against Wolves.

"As I mentioned before, the games we tended to have were against Aston Villa, the local ones.

"We tended to miss each other and then the COVID ones, nobody was able to go and watch which was really disappointing.

"We had a little taste of it in the Premier League 2 Cup final a few years ago when our young lads beat Wolves on penalties.

"There was a big crowd at that at The Hawthorns and that was for the Premier League 2 team, the under-21s.

"There’s a lot of anticipation for everyone wanting to get back inside the stadium and to enjoy what is a traditional fixture.

"It’s really exciting for everyone and it’s one I’d love to be back out there playing in. I was lucky enough to be involved in a few as a player and I can’t wait to go and watch it."

A general view of the Brummie Road End during a fixture between Albion and Wolves in 2011

His personal memories of playing against Wolves...

"The one memory sticks out for me. I was obviously lucky enough to score a goal against Wolves the last time we beat them here at The Hawthorns.

"That’s always something I’ll remember for the rest of my days.

"When you look at games like that and the Villa games – I was fortunate enough to score in a couple of games against them – they’re games which mean a lot to the local community.

"Winning those games are always important, which is what we managed to do the last time we played Wolves at The Hawthorns in front of fans.

"That goal, especially in front of the Wolves fans down at the Smethwick End, was a great feeling."

The ball hitting the back of the net as Chris Brunt scores against Wolves in 2011

Peter Odemwingie's famous treble at Molineux...

"Pete’s time at the club will always be remembered for the hat-trick he scored against Wolves at Molineux when we won 5-1.

"He was a great player and I loved playing with him. I still see him about now, so I’m sure his hat-trick will be dragged up a few times this week.

"People will always go back to the QPR thing when he almost left, but if you take that away, I think most fans will look back at his time fondly here because he scored a hat-trick at Molineux and he also scored in the home win that season too.

"He scored four goals in one season against Wolves and people will always remember that."

Peter Odemwingie celebrates scoring a hat-trick at Molineux in 2012

The challenge of facing Wolves...

"We’ve sort of missed them going up and down, on both sides to be honest.

"The season in the Premier League, with COVID nobody was able to go to the games so this has been a long time coming.

"Gary O’Neil has done a good job with them there this season. They’re doing okay in the Premier League.

"A cup game is always a bit different because you never know what’s going to happen. We’ve got a really good manager here and a good set of players.

"We’ve had bad injuries this season but hopefully we can go as strong as possible on the day.

"I’m sure it’ll be a good game. League form can out of the window when it comes to cup games, especially in a local game. Hopefully we can come out on top."

Wolves players celebrate scoring against Brentford in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup

The chance to become a hero...

"You’ve got the opportunity to become a hero.

"In a game like this which is going to be played in front of a full Hawthorns, especially with us being in a league below them at the minute, if we were to turn them over, someone who scores the winner can write themselves into folklore as they say.

"Hopefully one of our lads can pop up on the day and be that hero."

Albion players celebrate a goal at The Hawthorns
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