By Joe Brewin
Arsenal Reserves will look to leapfrog West Brom and return to the top of the Reserve League South when they travel to The Hawthorns on Wednesday evening.
Both sides head into the match unbeaten after strong starts to their seasons, setting up what promises to be a thrilling encounter in the West Midlands.
Neil Banfield’s side came away from their last match somewhat disappointed after Stephen Dobbie’s last-minute free-kick earned Swansea a 2-2 draw at Barnet despite the young Gunners enjoying the lion’s share of play.
This week the team simply needs to find a more clinical edge, according to manager Banfield.
“Thinking about it and watching the DVD again I think we just need to use possession a little better and take our chances when we do create them,” he told Arsenal.com.
“Overall we just need to concentrate and be on our toes when we do get those opportunities to score.
“We have just continued working this week,” he added. “We’ve had a good group in over the last ten days and Craig Eastmond and Gavin Hoyte have both rejoined the group again.
“It's been a nice, good group - some days we have been working with the first team and some days just on our own.”
Arsenal’s second string are well aware of the threat West Brom will pose on home territory having edged last season’s fixture by a slender 1-0 margin thanks to a rare goal from Ignasi Miquel.
Banfield admitted he is looking forward to the game a little more than usual given the Baggies’ strong start – and he believes his team are ready for the test.
“It's always a good game at West Brom,” said Banfield. “Obviously the Roy Hodgson influence throughout the club is strong too so it will be a really good game and I am looking forward to it.
“I think they will be very organised. They play good football and it will be a similar test to the one against Swansea.
“I think every game is tough in its own right. We are doing well at the moment and the squad is working hard so we'll go there and really try and stamp our mark on the game.”
Eastmond’s return provides a timely boost for the Reserves and the young midfielder looks set to head straight back into the thick of the action.
Vito Mannone and Sebastien Squillaci will both feature as they look to step up their rehabilitation from injury, while long-term absentee Rhys Murphy will be keen for action off the bench.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 17 Oct 2011