West Bromwich Albion hot-shot Adil Nabi is targeting a first team place after his hat-trick fired the Under-21s to a 4-1 thrashing of Aston Villa.
The 20-year-old scored three and set up the other for Kemar Roofe as the Baggies youngsters came from a goal down in superb style. Nabi cancelled out Thomas Strain’s opener on the stroke of half time then took the game away from Villa to send a message to the watching Alan Irvine.
And that message is that he wants to take the next step by making his senior debut, perhaps on loan but preferably with Albion.
“Getting experience is a good thing, going out there and playing some men’s football in front of a big crowd,” Nabi said.
“But then again if we keep performing like the way we are there is no reason why we can’t go straight in, me Liam [O’Neil], some other lads that can go straight in there.
“The lads are performing well at the minute but we’re just waiting for our opportunity to get in.
“It’s not always about loans I don’t think; if we can keep performing here there’s no reason why we can’t get into the first team.”
Such talk would have seemed preposterous this time last year as the Aston-born striker was coming back from a serious knee injury.
In the summer of 2013 Nabi damaged his anterior cruciate ligament in a pre-season friendly under Steve Clarke.
But he’s back with a bang. “I am feeling perfect fitness wise. I had all of last season – 12 months out. To come back and hit the ground running straight away has been fantastic.
“Hopefully now I can keep pushing on and pushing on and keep going trying to get into that first team.”
Albion have also announced Claudio Yacob will not be available for Monday night’s match with Manchester United.
The Argentine has been allowed to return home on compassionate grounds due to a family illness.