One to Watch - Chris Brunt
Name: Chris Brunt
Date of Birth: 14/12/87
Nationality: Northern Ireland
Former Clubs: Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday
League Appearances (Goals): 298 (55)
International Appearances (Goals): 33 (1)
Stat of the Day: Chris Brunt has scored in his last three visits to Loftus Road - twice for WBA and once for Sheffield Wednesday
Chris Brunt clearly loves Loftus Road, and despite only managing one league goal so far this season, the Northern Ireland international has four assists to his name and his been ever-present showing his class on the right of midfield for West Brom. On his day, Brunt would not look out of place in a top eight team; he possesses a lethal left foot (providing his team mates with an impressive 60 crosses so far this season), scores important goals, can unlock defences with some deft and creative passing and is the proud owner of nine GCSE`s.
West Brom fans may be the first to admit Brunt hasn`t reached the heights of previous seasons yet, but after a tough start to the season the midfield maestro is starting to become as instrumental as ever. Having come through the ranks at Middlesbrough, rivalling fellow left footed magicians Stewart Downing and Adam Johnson for a place in the first team, the 26-year-old will certainly pose a danger to a QPR defence that has conceded eight goals to left footed players already this season.
Chris Brunt joined Rangers at the age of 10 and despite staying at the club for six years was told, under new manager Dick Advocaat`s overhaul of the youth system, he would not be given a scholarship. Brunt joined Middlesbrough following his release, but found it hard to break into the first team and moved to Sheffield Wednesday in March 2004 on an initial short-term loan deal. A permanent free transfer followed soon after as Brunt signed a two-year contract. In his first full season at the club, Brunt helped Wednesday achieve promotion to the Championship, scoring five goals.
During the 2006/07 campaign Brunt passed the 100 appearance mark for Wednesday, making him the club's most experienced player at the time. He forged a reputation for scoring spectacular goals and even notched from close to the halfway line with an audacious lob against Leeds. Brunt`s impressive performances led to interest from other clubs, and in 2007, after 143 league appearances and 24 goals for The Owls, he joined West Brom for a fee of £3 million.
In his first season at The Hawthorns, Brunt helped The Baggies to promotion to the Premier League, scoring a cracking second goal at Loftus Road in a final-day 2-0 win over The Rs. A switch to the right-wing in the second half of the 2008/2009 season brought a flurry of goals, and was named Player of The Year at the end of the season. Brunt has since blossomed into a top Premier League midfielder and with already 150 league appearances and 31 goals to his name, there will certainly be more to come from the 26-year-old.