</figure><p class="sp-story-body__introduction">Kyle Bartley believes his performances this season show he "deserves a place" in West Bromwich Albion's team after a tricky start to his Baggies career.</p>
The defender joined in 2018 but divided opinion with his form last season.
But the 28-year-old has helped Albion top the Championship this term.
“If I’m playing in a position that I feel comfortable with and I’m healthy and at full fitness, I believe that I deserve a place in this team and I’ll stand out in this league,” he said.
“I’ve continued doing what I do and working hard off the pitch, so hopefully I can keep performing on the pitch,” Bartley told BBC WM 95.6.
“It’s a massive motivation when you can hear the fans cheering along.
“It kind of gives that hostile atmosphere, it really does make a difference to us, to me especially, and hopefully they can be like that on Monday (against Stoke) and throughout the rest of the season.”
The centre-back had a difficult beginning to his Albion career, after a suspension saw him fall out of favour, with him not featuring in the squad for a total of nine games across November and December 2018.
He made 34 appearances in all competitions during the 2018-19 campaign; this season he has made 25 so far.
Albion are hoping to extend their one-point lead at the top of the Championship, despite a run of four draws and one loss in their past five games.
“We had a really good start to the season,” said the former Arsenal youngster. “We know we’re going through a bit of a tricky patch at the moment, but we’ve got enough experience in the dressing room to know that these things happen.
“It’s a time to stick together, work a little bit harder and the results will soon change.
“Things seem to go against you a bit, but we work harder than anyone and keep doing what we’re doing. The staff come up with great game plans.”
Albion are hoping to avoid a repeat of last season, which saw them lose on penalties to local rivals Aston Villa in the semi-finals of the play-offs.
“It’s not something I want to go through again, that’s for sure,” said Bartley.
“Our sole focus is on automatic promotion and I don’t think anyone has hidden that throughout the season.
“We’re in that spot at the moment, and it’s our job now to keep doing what we’ve been doing throughout the season and be focused after the festive period and get back on track.”
Updates from the Cannock Chase Radio News Desk via BBC Birmingham and Black Country
February 10, 2020
February 9, 2020
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