We pick seven things West Bromwich Albion fans want for Christmas.
West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis
1) Keep the good times coming
After a mixed start to the season, West Bromwich Albion are starting to look a real force under Tony Pulis. Not only are they threatening to push for a place in European, they are also playing good football to go along with the results.
Albion scored more goals in three of their recent home games (10 against Burnley, Watford and Swansea) than they had managed in their previous ten games at the Hawthorns. This entertainment has gone a long way to appeasing those Albion supporters who were disenchanted by Pulis’ brand of football and lack of goals.
Let’s hope Albion can continue this form heading into 2017.
2) January additions
West Brom fans have gotten used to quiet January transfer windows under Jeremy Peace. The ex-Chairman’s prudent approach to January meant expectations were kept extremely low, with loans, cut-price deals or free transfers only likely to happen.
However, there have been rumblings that West Brom’s new owners will be willing to invest some money during this January window. If that is the case, Albion supporters can hope for a couple of quality players, in the vain of Nacer Chadli, to boost the squad going into the second half of the season. A central midfielder and another striker would be a good start.
3) Keep hold of key players
West Brom won’t be the only club after quality players in January, which means Albion will have to fend off interest in their own players next month.
Jonny Evans was subject to interest from Arsenal in the summer and his excellent form this season may bring other teams into the fold. Likewise, Salomon Rondon’s form will surely draw suitors from the likes of Everton, West Ham and possibly big-spending Chinese clubs.
If Albion want to keep progressing they must keep hold of their key players in January – remember what happened with Shane Long in 2014.
4) FA Cup run
There has been FA Cup heartbreak for West Brom in the last two seasons. The infuriating quarter-final defeat to Aston Villa in 2015 was followed by the shameful day at Reading earlier this year.
With Rondon firing and a player of Chadli’s quality in the side, Albion are better set up to do well in the FA Cup. There shouldn’t be the need to take lower league clubs to a penalty shoot-out, as the Baggies did last season.
Not only would Albion supporters would love a trip to Wembley; the cup also acts as another route to European qualification.
5) End to the Berahino saga
The Saido Berahino saga has dragged on far too long. Much to everyone’s relief, the end is in sight with his contract expiring in the summer. However, it would be even better if a resolution was found before the second half of the season. That could mean Berahino joins another club in January or he signs a new deal at the Hawthorns. Either way it could prevent both parties wasting another six months.
6) A full Hawthorns
Attendances at the Hawthorns haven’t been great this season. This is particularly disappointing when West Brom’s local rivals are playing their football in the Championship. Hopefully, Albion’s recent upturn in performances will encourage any stay away supporters to fill those empty seats at the Hawthorns.
7) New deals for Brunt and Fletcher
Chris Brunt has bounced back from his serious knee injury in remarkable fashion. It should have come as no surprise, as the West Brom stalwart has been a consummate professional during his nine years at the club. Brunt’s form since his return has definitely warranted another new deal for the Northern Ireland international.
Although he didn’t enjoy the best start to the season, Darren Fletcher is another player who needs to be tied down for an extended Hawthorns stay. The influence of Albion's captain shouldn’t be underestimated, and he still has plenty to offer both on and off the field.
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