View from the opposition: Baggies fans desperate for Moore to be successful ahead of City clash
West Brom supporter and former head of media at The Hawthorns, Chris Lepkowski, is taking a patient approach to life in the Championship.
How is the mood among Baggies fans after one point from the opening two games?
It’s been a long time since Albion had a manager so universally liked as Darren Moore. One point from two games isn’t the great start many hoped for, but there is an appreciation that it’s still very early days. New players, new style of play and, above all else, a new coaching team still needs bedding in. Patience.
Is Darren Moore considered the right man for the job?
When Darren was first appointed as caretaker boss, most supporters expected it to be until the end of the season. But three wins and two draws from his six games in charge changed the dynamic – Moore came from nowhere to become the only choice. There is an acceptance that it is a gamble – this is his first role as a head coach, after all – but never before will a Baggies boss have had so much good feeling from his own supporters.
What have you made of the club’s transfer business so far?
Underwhelming. There was a promise from the chief executive of a ‘strong budget’. After recouping in excess of £11m, I think most fans were expecting to see a little more for their money. Sam Johnstone came in with a growing reputation, with Kyle Bartley and Conor Townsend as the only other permanent deals. Dwight Gayle, one of four loan arrivals, will be an intriguing acquisition. But the overall feeling is that Albion didn’t do enough to bring in a box-to-box or creative midfielder, a centre forward to replace Salomon Rondon – he was the only one of Albion’s forwards to carry a physical presence – and the right-back they so desperately need. Time will tell how successful this window was, but currently the squad seems top-heavy with senior players whose contracts will dwindle down, offering little (in some cases no) sell-on fee, and a group of youngsters who don’t belong to them. For a club who only spend what they make, this can only cause issues in the future. A complete lack of foresight by the Board.
Which players do you expect to be crucial to the club’s promotion hopes?
James Morrison, Harvey Barnes, Nacer Chadli (assuming he doesn’t leave) and Gayle offer the most potential for creativity or potency. And keeping Jay Rodriguez at the club can also benefit our season – not least as we probably wouldn’t have replaced him.
Are there any areas which still need to be strengthened?
Midfield looks a little lacking in sparkle and energy, with the absence of a decent right-back also worrying. Only three senior strikers leaves us praying for a clean bill of health. A ridiculous state of affairs.
Do you feel nervous about the trip to Norwich this weekend, or buoyed by the late equaliser at Forest to draw 1-1 in midweek?
Excited – provided we start as we finished at the City Ground. If we begin as we did on Tuesday, Norwich could be out of sight by half-time... You’d like to think lessons have been learned.
Norwich have again made a lot of changes this summer, can you see them being involved in the play-off mix?
If they have the right blend, then they’re every chance. I’ve noted their absence from many people’s top six predictions for this season. But then how many of those turn out to be correct? If the chemistry is right, sure, Norwich could feature prominently.
Any Canaries players you will be wary of ahead of this afternoon’s match?
Alex Tettey has always been a prominent presence for Norwich and it would be remiss not to mention Onel Hernandez following his two goals last week.
And finally, what is your prediction?
I’ll go with a draw. Albion don’t look quite at it yet but I think they’ll do enough to grab another point...
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