Albion striker Shane Long today admitted Baggies players face a season of potential frustration as they embark on a fierce battle for places at The Hawthorns.
Long believes the scrap for first-team spots will leave players disappointed every week with boss Steve Clarke wresting with a host of selection dilemmas.
Long was among the substitutes at Stoke on Saturday alongside Chris Brunt, James Morrison, Nicolas Anelka and Matej Vydra while Goran Popov, Diego Lugano, Graham Dorrans and Markus Rosenberg did not make the bench.
“It’s a battle now,” said Long. “Even on Saturday there were two people left out in Goran Popov and Markus Rosenberg and six back at the training ground.
“It’s a privilege to get in the first 18, never mind the first 11, and it’s good for the team and shows how far we’ve come and what we expect to achieve over the next couple of years.
“It’s a headache for the manager but it pushes us all as players.
“There are 25 or 26 players and everyone wants to play but that can’t happen.
“So there will be some disappointed people, but as long as the team keeps performing like that and getting points out of every game you can’t complain.
“You’ve just got to keep trying and grab your chance when it comes.
“I am coming back from injury and when I was injured the lads were getting points out of every game, so you can’t really complain that you’re not straight back in the team when you’re fit again. I’m just biding my time and hopefully I will come on and make an impact in games and convince the manager to start me.”
Long believes the emergence of Saido Berahino from the Baggies academy has made the fight for places even more keenly contested.
“He had a great pre-season and he is a young lad who is fresh and scoring goals,” said Long.
“He is a threat. The gaffer has played him out on the left and he’s doing too well out there because he will have to keep playing out there when he’s a striker.
“But fair play to him, it’s hard to break through at that age, especially in the Premier League.
“But he’s grabbed his chance with both hands and hasn’t looked back so hopefully the club can tie him down to a deal and keep him here because he looks very promising for the future.”