Steve Bruce: Players are refreshed & raring to go

Steve Bruce pre-Swansea City

Steve Bruce says his squad are feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the next chunk of Sky Bet Championship matches following the conclusion of the September international break.

The Baggies return to league action on Saturday afternoon, hosting Swansea City at The Hawthorns in a 3pm kick-off

Albion completed 12 games in all competitions in seven weeks prior to the first pause in the campaign, and Bruce believes the break will have benefitted the Baggies both mentally and physically.

The boss said: “I think it was good for everyone to have a little break after what was a really busy schedule to start to the season.

“We only had a few of the lads away on international duty, so a lot of the lads have benefitted from having a bit of a break and some recovery time.

“All the lads who went away have come back in good condition. The two Irish lads, Dara and Jayson, have played both games and they got a good result in the most recent match against Armenia, while the two younger lads, Ethan Ingram and Zac Ashworth have both done very well according to the reports we’ve had back.

“We’ve trained all week this week and the lads are ready to go and ready for the challenge of the next set of fixtures. 

“I think with anything in life that you choose to do, you need a break from it at times to give you a chance to step back and reflect on it all.

“It’s been so full-on since we started the season and we’ve barely had a day off since then, so it was important to take time to recover and reflect on what has gone well and what hasn’t.

“It’s clear that we need to turn these draws into victories. I don’t need to tell anyone that. 

“A lot of those games, I believe we have done enough to win and should have won.

“Turning draws into wins obviously helps everyone and lifts everyone at the club.

“We need to try and go and win a couple of our games this week and get ourselves started once again.

“When you look at the league now, four or five points separates something like 18 or 19 teams, which is incredible. It’s all to play for.

“The next chunk of games are upon us and let’s go and win a fair few of them to try and lift us up the table.”

Swansea City, managed by former Scotland international defender Russell Martin, arrive at The Hawthorns having won two of their last three games in the Sky Bet Championship.

Bruce is expecting the visitors to try and dominate possession in B71, but stressed the importance of his side stamping their own authority on proceedings. 

“We’ve seen a lot of Swansea City and we know how they’ll try and play at The Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon.

“Under Russell Martin they’ll play a possession-based style of football and that will mean that we’ll have to try and be patient at times.

“However, we’re at home and the onus is on us to go and stamp our authority on the game. 

“We’ve played well at home for the majority of games so far this season with a couple of exceptions.

“It’s an important game for us and one we really want to win.”

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