After the disappointment of relegation from the Premier League last season, West Brom are desperately searching for a swift return to the top table in English football.
Unbeaten after their first eight league games of the campaign, it’s been a solid start for the Baggies, but there is still plenty of work to be done to secure promotion, in one of the most competitive divisions around.
Experience the Key For Baggies
West Brom, who are currently 23/10 to take the title, according to the Betfair odds on the Championship this season, were able to fend off plenty of interest in key assets over the summer to maintain a competitive squad. The Championship predictions have the West Midlands outfit as one of the strongest teams in the league, and they have certainly started the new campaign positively.
The likes of Robert Snodgrass, Jake Livermore and Kyle Bartley are all experienced heads who remained at The Hawthorns over the summer. There might well have been Premier League interest in all three players, but West Brom were able to keep hold of players who will be key to any promotional push.
The Baggies were shrewd in the transfer market and, following the sale of star winger Matheus Pereira to Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal, looked to bring in players on free transfers and loan deals. Having impressed at Barnsley in the Championship, Alex Mowatt made the switch from the Tykes to the Baggies on a free deal over the summer.
Meanwhile, Norwich City striker Jordan Hugill has struggled in the Premier League but is more than capable of delivering in the Championship. Hugill joined West Brom on a season-long loan, along with Brighton duo Matt Clarke and Jayson Molumby. The recruitment has certainly given manager Valérien Ismaël a squad with plenty of strength in depth to take the long Championship season ahead.
Three Won’t Go Into Two
When it comes to the two automatic promotion places this season, the early signs suggest West Brom, Bournemouth and Fulham will all be competing. The Cherries suffered playoff heartbreak at the hands of Brentford last season, and the south coast outfit will be desperate to avoid the post-regular-season action. The same of course goes for both West Brom and Fulham, who are eager to bounce straight back to the top flight after Premier League relegation last season.
While West Brom went undefeated in their first eight league games of the campaign, Ismaël might well have been frustrated by the four draws they played out. A 2-2 draw at Bournemouth was a positive result but draws with the likes of Millwall, Derby County and Preston North End will have all come as a disappointment for the Baggies’ boss.
There’s still a long way to go in the race for promotion but West Brom have already shown themselves to be a tough nut to crack and should be in the title race when it comes to the business end of the campaign.