Aston Villa defender Curtis Davies has welcomed his old club, West Bromwich Albion, into the Premier League and tipped them to hold their own next season even though he anticipates the reception he will get from the Baggies fans may be less ingratiating.

The 22-year-old centre-half, currently undergoing rehabilitation after rupturing his Achilles tendon in March, joins Villa on a permanent deal this summer after a season-long loan from The Hawthorns.

And while his decision to leave when Albion missed out on promotion after their play-off final defeat last season was seen as treason by some of the Baggies' faithful, Davies says he is not afraid to face the "boo-boys."

Albion achieved promotion this time after securing a 1-1 draw with Southampton last Monday and now face some mouth-watering derbies with Villa next season.

Davies said: "I am really pleased for West Brom. I am looking forward to playing against the lads although going back to The Hawthorns will be a brave move for me!"

But the former Albion captain insists he won't be hoping the fixture comes before his return to the side, far from it.

Davies said: "I thrive off situations like that. I remember when I was there in pre-season before I left and they were booing me, I actually enjoyed it."

The former England Under-21 star said he was sure Albion would cut it in the top flight and believes they will model their first season on Steve Coppell's Reading during their inaugural spell in the Premier League.

He said: "West Brom play good football and deserve to be up. When Derby came up last season, they didn't play the prettiest football in the league and only got in the Premier League through the play-offs while other teams might have got there a little bit earlier. But West Brom are up now and, with only this weekend to go, can go up as champions.

"I can see them doing a similar job to that which Reading did in their first season in the top flight. When Reading came up, they played good football and scored 100-odd goals and West Brom are very similar. Hopefully, they will do very well.

"I do keep in touch with a few people from there but I don't call them all the time. I know I could pick up the phone any time and ask one of the lads to come out for a drink or whatever and there would never be a problem."

Davies reiterated that he had left Tony Mowbray's side in the summer in a bid to further his own career. "The main reason I left was that I felt I wasn't going to get Premier League football and if we had got promoted last year, I wouldn't have had a problem," he said.

"Unfortunately, I couldn't play in the promotion play-off final at Wembley due to a broken metatarsal but, at the end of the day, I had to look out for my career. It is a short career and you want to play at the highest level and get the most out of your career that you can.

"I wanted to progress my club career but also ensure that I didn't fall behind the other potentialcandidates for the England squad."

Davies is now back in the gym and desperate to return at the start of next season but knows he cannot rush his injury, suffered during Villa's 2-2 draw at Arsenal. "I plan to be ready for September," he said. "I know my manager says it may be November, but managers have to cover all the bases.

"He also has to think of the personnel he wants to get in in the summer. Basically, if I were not to come back until November, it would leave us a bit short but I have to concentrate on myself and my thoughts and try and get back on my target."