Ahead of the season opener at the Hawthorns, we spoke to West Brom supporter Andrew Plant to take a look at the Baggies and what Bolton can expect.
What went wrong last season?
What didn’t go wrong? Tony Pulis was in charge for too long as we were heading in one direction under him. Fans were done with him, players were evidently done with him, we were playing dreadful football setting up for 0-0s most weeks and it was a sinking ship. Appointing Alan Pardew and expecting a group of players who have been so drilled defensively to suddenly play attacking football and score a load of goals was naive and in hindsight a dreadful appointment. We were down before Christmas realistically.
Albion have two former Bolton players in Craig Dawson and Kyle Bartley. What are the fans’ views of them?
Dawson is a grade above and belongs in the Premier League. He is versatile, solid defensively and loves a goal. However, in my opinion, the second a player asks to leave you should look into making it happen. In the position we now found ourselves in we only want and need players who want to fight for the club and wear the shirt with genuine pride to try and get us back up. Reluctantly, I’d take the money and reinvest the best we can.
As for Bartley I’d be lying if I said I’ve seen too much of him. I saw the odd game when he was at Leeds and he is definitely a presence. He also came on for the last 20 minutes of our draw with Swansea near the end of last season and he looked relatively solid. I don’t think anyone can grumble at £4m for a player with a proven record and experience in this league. Time will tell.
How do you expect to set up on Saturday?
Darren Moore has definitely stripped things back to basics. It’s hard to predict who will start as a lot of ins and outs are still very much in the air. However, I think he would go for a similar lineup and formation to what he put out at Coventry last week.
Editors’ note: WBA ‘s lineup last week was; Johnstone; Cranie, Bartley, Hegazi, Gibbs; Phillips, Brunt, Livermore, Barnes; Morrison; Robson-Kanu
Who is your player to watch?
Ironically Harvey Barnes. A lot of fans had a lot of negative things to say when we signed him. I think a lot of us expected a more accomplished player to replace James McClean and not a kid on loan from Leicester. Although I think he has turned a lot of heads already with his performance against Coventry. Two goals and an assist in one game… more than McClean did all season! He is young, hungry, a clear talent and has a point to prove.
And finally, what is your score prediction?
My head says 1-1 but my heart says 2-1 to the Albion. We really need a strong start if we are going to do anything this year. It’s a tough league and I really hope we get some points on the board as fast as we can and get momentum on our side sooner rather than later.