Albion PL2 skipper Jamie Andrews says his team-mates will relish the challenge of competing against Aston Villa at Villa Park on Friday night (ko 7pm).
Midfielder Andrews has enjoyed a positive start to the campaign, embracing the captaincy placed on him by boss Richard Beale while also contributing consistently in the final third during matches this season, providing two goals and two assists.
Friday’s short trip to Witton is one the 20-year-old has made before, losing 4-1 to Villa’s U18s in the 2021 FA Youth Cup semi-final.
But the Baggies captain believes the current youngsters approach the derby clash with a “different mindset” this time around, as they look to record back-to-back league wins and bring the bragging rights back to the Black Country.
“It’s a local derby and hopefully there’ll be a few fans there to add some extra feeling to the game,” said Andrews.
“We want to end up with the bragging rights.
“Having the responsibility of being captain this year has made me be more vocal on the pitch. I will still get in the head of my opponents, but now I do it tactically to help the team.
“I think I only managed two goals from open play last season and one assist. So to have two goals and two assists already this year in five games is really pleasing.
"It’s something me and the coaches have looked at and I’ve been trying to get forward more and, hopefully, I can get higher numbers this year.
“We put in a resilient performance against Derby last time out and it could’ve been a lot bigger scoreline than it was.
“There was a lot of lads in the current squad who played at Villa Park in the FA Youth Cup when we lost and it affected us a lot. But we’re glad it happened because it gave us a kick which showed us that we are better than what we showed that day.
“We’re a different team with a different mindset now and we want to go there, show everyone what we can do and, hopefully, claim all three points on Friday.”