THIS was supposed to be a big season for Alireza Jahanbakhsh.

That is certainly how he saw it.

Such belief was not based on feats in front of goal last term.

He was as disappointed as anyone by his lack of goals and assists.

It was founded more on how he felt about settling into our league and our country.

And memories of how things progressed gradually for him in the Netherlands after his big move from Iran.

Jahanbakhsh had some tough moments last term after a record £17 million deal which brought him from AZ Alkmaar.

Injury and a trip to the Asia Cup did not help him.

His army of Iranian fans could not understand why he was not setting the Premier League alight – and why Albion were not selecting him.

He spoke about his frustration at not scoring a goal after leading the Eredivisie with 21 the previous season.

But he could see the ups and downs as an investment which he expected to be paying out by now.

It hasn’t happened like that and freely recognised as much after coming off the bench against Wolves on Sunday for his first league minutes of the season.

Jahanbakhsh scored five goals and suffered relegation with NEC of Nijmegen in his first year in Europe, although two goals in the final regular season fixture took their survival fight to a play-off.

In season two, he flourished, albeit at a lower level, being named the second tier’s best player helped by 12 goals and 18 assists as promotion was secured.

It was a similar tale after moving on to AZ. Three goals in his first season, ten in his second and then 21, plus 12 assists, in a dazzling third campaign.

Those three seasons in Alkmaar came after Jahanbakhsh opted to stay in Dutch football when the Seagulls first tried to sign him in 2015.

Now things have changed. His ideal scenario would be to stay at the Amex, play and impress.

But chances of that have been thrown into doubt by a slow start to his second season.

Jahanbakhsh told The Argus: “Every player wants to play. There’s no doubt about it.

“But I’m happy here, to be honest, with the environment and the way the team is playing.

“I’m still learning and I try to adapt myself to the way the manager wants me to play.

“I’m going to work hard to get more minutes.”

Asked if he could look to move on loan, he said: “I haven’t been thinking about it but I’m going to work hard to get my chance, my position.

“It has been a year-and-a-half I’m here but I haven’t shown what I’m really capable of doing and that makes me feel a little bit disappointed, to be honest.

“The first year was the year I had to learn Premier League, maybe a little bit too excited because of things going on. A different level and everything.

“I was pretty sure this season would be quite a good season for me.

“I have learned a lot. I had to adapt myself to the country, to the weather, to the culture, which is different to what I am used to.

“I have been in good shape. I have been enjoying training and everything and I’m going to work hard to get more chances.”

The landscape has changed at Albion since Jahanbakhsh signed for Chris Hughton, a manager who played 4-4-2 and 4-4-1-1.

Following the principle of two players per position, that meant four genuine wingers in the squad.

During the two seasons chasing promotion, Hughton (once he had settled on his personnel) selected from Anthony Knockaert, Solly March, Jamie Murphy and Jiri Skalak.

Skalak was still there, but not used, in the first Prem year but the three wingers who remained in favour, namely March, Knockaert and the newly-signed Jose Izquierdo, totalled 101 league appearances between them, combining starts and as sub.

Jahanbakhsh pushed the winger compliment back up to four last term and looked promising in, for example, the early-season draw at Southampton.

But tactics and formations have changed. The role of genuine wingers in a Potter team is probably a 1,000-word topic in its own right.

Most of the attacking width has been offered by players coming from deeper or drifting from more central areas.

To that end, Potter had an early-season look at Jahanbakhsh at right wing-back.

The player himself said: “We have spoken with the manager that he wanted to see what’s going on in a different position for me.

“I have been fine with that but there wasn’t probably the right timing.

“There is a long season so we will see maybe there is change at some time.”

Jahanbakhsh was sent on wide right against Wolves to give “a bit of legs” as Potter put it.

He said: “It had been a while. I have been in good shape and training well but the manager is the one who selects the starting line-up “I have been working hard since pre-season and waiting for my chance.

“I have been trying to get into the way the manager wants to play.

“It’s different to how we used to play here.

“It has been good weeks. Week in and week out I try to work hard.

“As a professional player, you always have to train well and be in good shape and be ready. That has always been my situation on the bad days.

“I am still learning. I try to train the way he wants us to.

“For now, the manager decided to use players who can play, let’s say, that way.

“Other players like me are part of the team.

“But I have always felt good and worked hard, never made any excuse.”

Jahanbakhsh has posted on social media to say he is enjoying training.

Equally, Potter does not have a bad word to say about his efforts.

But is it a case of him not fitting the plan? Is he just not suited to the league? Or maybe just not quite good enough?

Potter was pleased when Jahanbakhsh asked to play in an under-23s league game against West Ham.

He provided a moment of class to send Bojan Radulovic away for the opening goal.

But he looked a frustrated figure as he went off midway through the second half in a 3-1 defeat.

He said: “It is always good to have minutes so we had a small chat with the manager if I wanted to play in that game “I really wanted to play. I just tried to do whatever the manager of the 23s wants and be back in good shape.

“Hopefully I get more minutes and I can show myself as much as possible.”

If that happens, it could lead to an international recall.

Iran are struggling to progress from round two of the lengthy Asian qualification process for the next World Cup finals.

Defeats in Iraq and Bahrain have left them probably needing to win the two return fixtures, both in June, to go through to phase three.

But a lot can happen between now and then.

Jahanbakhsh said: “I have missed the last two camps.

“The first one, I was injured.

“The second one was because I didn’t have game minutes for a long time.

“The manager in the national team decided to call up other players who are playing.

“They are in game shape.

“That is what happened and hopefully it’s not going to happen again.”