Belfast Telegraph

Brunt aware of Benteke threat

Chris Brunt admits stopping Christian Benteke creating "mayhem" again is key to West Brom's derby hopes.

The Baggies skipper is wary of the Aston Villa striker ahead of Saturday's West Midlands clash at The Hawthorns.

Benteke has helped Villa to back-to-back wins following a seven-month lay off from a ruptured Achilles and scored his first goal of the season in their 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace last week.

His return was interrupted by a three-game ban after a red card against Tottenham in November but Brunt knows the Baggies must control the Belgium.

"Just kick him," he joked, when asked how they will deal with Benteke. "You just have to watch the stuff when we played against them last year, especially the one at Villa Park, where he caused us mayhem.

"He's a big miss for anyone, a striker of that quality. He brings so many different attributes, he's good in the air, a strong guy and he can score goals. He's a good all-round striker.

"For them to lose someone like that for so long was a big blow but to have him back is going to give you and others around you a lift.

"He is someone we have to contain because he is a handful."

Brunt, who is a doubt with a hamstring injury, scored in Albion's 4-3 defeat at Villa Park last season where they lost a 2-0 lead for the second time in the campaign.

The Baggies were 2-0 up only to draw 2-2 in the first game and the midfielder knows they blew it against Villa.

"At home we ran out of steam but the away game was ridiculously daft," said the 29-year-old, with Albion one point above the Barclays Premier League drop zone. "To go in 3-3 at half time in a Premier League game shouldn't be happening.

"We were under the new coach (Pepe Mel) at the time and things weren't falling into place and it was pretty obvious on the pitch that night.

"We were all over the place and it could have been 10-10.

"On the night Benteke caused us all sorts of problems and he's a massive danger. We are going to have to be very wary of that, seeing the damage he caused last time."

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