Baggies youngster Fenton Heard believes the current setup at the club is edging his team-mates closer to their “dream” of first-team football ahead of Monday night’s Premier League Cup clash with Reading.
Richard Beale’s academy hopefuls go into the second of their double-header with the Royals at the Electrical Services Stadium (ko 7pm) looking to maintain their unbeaten start in the competition, having beaten Sheffield United and drawn with Blackburn Rovers during their previous two games.
Albion’s young pros couldn’t make a dominant display count against Monday’s opponents count last time out, with attacking midfielder Heard going close to finding the net.
Last term, the 19-year-old notched nine goal contributions (six goals, three assists) in 16 U18 Premier League games, and with one finish to his name already in the PL Cup this season, the Great Barr local is keen to boost his numbers further on Monday evening.
Heard said: “When you go four games without a win, it’s about putting the next one right and doing the basics right and I think we did that against Reading last Monday.
“Now we just need the quality to go with it in the final third and start finishing chances to help build momentum and, hopefully, get a win next and carry on from there.
“After our win against Sheffield United in the group, we wanted to go as far as we could in the competition because we’ve done it before and with the group we’ve got in the changing room; lads who’ve been on the bench for the first team, who’ve got that PL Cup experience and we haven’t lost in the competition yet.
“We drew to Blackburn last time and we’re just aiming to keep up that momentum. If we do, hopefully we can bring it into the league games but we’re all just looking forward to playing in the cup again now.
“We just need to find the belief that we’re going to score in matches. We all know we’ve got the quality and sometimes you need a bit of luck as well but we need to keep working hard in front of goal every day to find that change in fortune.
“We’ve seen what Reading are like now and we’ll be able to put a game plan together to try and get the three points and bring us that step closer to topping the group, which we want to do.
“Training with the first team gives you great exposure to what it’s like at the top level and it only helps you improve, makes you stronger and that only helps when you bring that back to 21s games.
“This club gives you a path to believe that you can get there and we’ve got great people around us here to help us push towards that dream. It’s a great pathway here and long may it continue.
“The performances have been there for me, my ability and work ethic have been shown but it’s about proving myself in front of goal and pushing my numbers up to what they were last year.
“I just need a bit of patience and belief because I know I can reach those numbers and hopefully I can show that in the next games.”