Belfast Telegraph

Di Matteo backs Brunt as skipper

West Brom manager Roberto di Matteo has hailed Chris Brunt as the "natural" choice to lead the Baggies against Blackpool on Saturday.

The Italian decided on Thursday that his regular skipper, goalkeeper Scott Carson, would not be involved on Saturday after a string of indifferent performances and the impressive display put in by his deputy, Boaz Myhill, against Reading last weekend.

Di Matteo told his club's official website: "Chris has matured a lot in the time I've been at the club. He's become a very consistent player. He's got a great personality and is very well respected. I think he is a natural captain."

Last week's FA Cup exit at Reading was Albion's sixth successive defeat in all competitions, and, after a promising start to the season that saw them occupy one of the Champions League positions, they go into Saturday's game in 16th place.

Di Matteo, though, hopes that having a full week to prepare for the clash with Ian Holloway's men will stand them in good stead.

He added: "I haven't had a run like this as a manager or a player so it is new to me. But a few of our players have gone through it before and so have some of the staff.

"So we have been talking about it and talking to the players, trying to pick them up and give them some confidence.

"One good result can change everything.

"It was good to get a normal week in and give people the chance to recover their energy and get over illness. So it has been good for us and we really needed it.

"We were on our last legs in the last FA Cup and you could see we couldn't quite raise our game to where we wanted to."


From Belfast Telegraph