Baggies determined to get their boing back

Bouncing back became an Albion speciality under Roy Hodgson.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Fulham v West Bromwich Albion - Craven Cottage

Now captain Chris Brunt is urging Steve Clarke’s men to prove their character remains undimmed.

Albion lost for the first time under Clarke when Peter Odemwingie’s red card completed a horrid day at Fulham that saw his side defeated 3-0.

But Brunt believes the Baggies can send out a message by seeing off Reading at The Hawthorns tomorrow and prove they remain as resilient as ever.

During last season’s unprecedented rise to 10th place in the Premier League table, Albion only suffered back-to-back defeats on four occasions.

And their skipper is demanding similar resolve tomorrow as they look to respond to defeat at Craven Cottage.

“We saw last year that when we had a couple of bad results we came back with a couple of back-to-back wins, which means a lot to you in the Premier League,” said Brunt.

“That happened two or three times and that pushes you up the league a few places and makes you feel a lot better.

“It’s a bit early to be looking at the league table but it’s important for us to keep improving every year.

“Points-wise we had the same last year as the year before but I think overall last year was more successful and it’s important that we keep moving in the right direction.”

Brunt, who is on his way back from a pre-season calf strain, is hoping for a first start of the season at home to the Royals after figuring at Fulham as a half-time substitute.

And the Northern Ireland winger is keen to improve his fortunes against the Berkshire club, who became fierce rivals for the Baggies in league and cup action during Roberto Di Matteo’s reign.

Injury meant he missed Di Matteo’s only win in five attempts against Reading.

“I can’t remember an easy game against Reading,” he said. “I’m trying to think if I’ve ever got a result against them and I can’t remember one.

“When we beat them under Robbie I didn’t play.

“They are difficult to play against and they’re probably looking at us as one of the teams they can get something against away from home.

“It’s up to us to make sure that doesn’t happen and we’ve got a bit of a point to prove after last weekend.

“We want to keep our home form going as well. Three clean sheets at home in the Premier League would be great. I’m not sure we’ve ever done that.

“I’m sure the lads at the back and Ben Foster will be keen to keep that going.

“After such a good start to the season it’s important that we do well, because we’ve got a few games coming up over the next few weeks that, looking from the outside, you would probably expect some points from.”

Albion will take on the Royals aiming to continue their impressive home form having beaten Liverpool and Everton so far.

And Clarke is adamant his players are ready for the added pressure of being favourites against Brian McDermott’s newly-promoted side.

“There is a different kind of pressure in this game,” he said. “People might look at the game this week and think we’re the favourites to win it, which we probably will be if you go down to the bookmakers, but it’s just another pressure we have to handle.

“It certainly doesn’t faze me and it shouldn’t faze the players.”