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Brunt targets WBA return against Saints

Chris Brunt is hoping to return for West Brom against Southampton next week - after successfully recovering from a hamstring injury.

• Brunt wants new West Brom deal
• Blog: A cruel game

Albion's captain completed the final stage of his rehabilitation with 61 minutes of action against Reading in the Under-21 Premier League on Monday after a month out of action.

The Northern Ireland international was watched by head coach Steve Clarke and hopes to use the rest of this week to put the finishing touches to his return to full fitness ahead of Monday night's game against Southampton at the Hawthorns.

"Hopefully I'll be fit enough to face Southampton. I'll have to get another few days training to be involved in some shape or form," Brunt said.

"It's down to the gaffer and what he thinks from this week's training, but it would be nice to get involved again."

Brunt has an added incentive to return against Nigel Adkins' side having scored the equaliser against Southampton in a 1-1 draw at the Hawthorns in April 2008, a result that clinched Albion's promotion back to the Premier League.

But he has made it clear he will not gamble with his fitness and return too early, after a frustrating start to the season.

"The last couple of times I've come back and broken down so it is important not to rush back this time. Fingers crossed, this time everything will be okay," he said. "It's been a while and it's been pretty stop-start this season altogether, right through from pre-season.

"Everything is fine with the hamstring, as I expected. It was always going to be okay. Sixty minutes was doctor's orders. I probably could have done a little bit more but the doc said no."

Defender Billy Jones and midfielder Jerome Thomas both stepped up their returns from knee injuries and the duo could further increase Clarke's options for Bonfire Night.

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