Belfast Telegraph

Brunt faces race against time

West Brom skipper Chris Brunt is in a race against time to face Aston Villa after admitting he is "touch and go" for the crunch derby.

The captain has been sidelined for a week with a hamstring injury and could miss the clash on Saturday.

Brunt limped out of their 2-1 defeat to West Ham last week and missed the Baggies' goalless draw at Hull at the weekend.

And he could miss out again at The Hawthorns after revealing he is still being troubled by the injury.

"I'm not sure if I'll be fit, I've been doing bits and pieces this week but it'll be touch and go," said the Northern Ireland midfielder.

"We have a few days to work on it but with the type of injury it is I will need to make 100 per cent sure whether I'm fit or not.

"I'll take advice from the medical staff but it's a game I'm desperate to play in. It's a game I've always enjoyed and one you look forward to.

"It's just a small strain but it depends how I react to the rehab. I felt it go straight away in the game so I knew I had to come off.

"I did the right thing but I was disappointed to come off as, as soon as I stepped off the pitch, West Ham scored the second goal."

A derby defeat could see Albion drop into the relegation zone to add more pressure on under-fire boss Alan Irvine.

They sit just a point above the bottom three, having won just one of their last 10 games in all competitions, and Brunt knows they must improve.

"Things haven't been going our way at the minute," said the 29-year-old.

"The lads stopped the rot on Saturday and the clean sheet is always a bonus in the form we've been in - we've been conceding a lot of goals.

"So to get a clean sheet was great and we need to add that little bit more going forward now and hopefully try to build on it.

"I'm sure the gaffer and the lads have been doing as much work as they can. We need to go and win the game, especially at home where we haven't been playing well.

"Three points is a big target for us this week.

"It's a very important one and we need to get some points on the board, especially at home."

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