This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
West Brom travel to Hull City at the weekend, with Slaven Bilic’s side looking to consolidate their position at the top of the Championship, where they currently sit two points clear of Preston North End.
One decision faced by Bilic ahead of the match though, is whether to continue starting with striker Charlie Austin, who only has one goal to show for his 11 league appearances so far this season, up-front.
So should Bilic drop Austin for their match at the weekend?
“I believe so, Austin hasn’t done near enough from the start of games to warrant starting again when West Brom face Hull.
“In the Baggies’ last outing, Austin started up front against a struggling Stoke side but failed to make a telling impact as they looked to get the killer second goal.
“He was replaced by Hal Robson-Kanu who made an instant impact, scoring from the penalty spot to ensure the points went back with Slaven Bilic’s side.
“While it could be argued that Austin could have tucked home that penalty too, it must be noted that his all-round play was much more lively, allowing other players to join the attack much easier than when Austin was on.
“Robson-Kanu has scored three since Austin last scored and this typifies why Austin shouldn’t start because his replacement is making more of an impact in less time on the pitch and looks better overall.”
“I think he should do yes, Austin has quite frankly looked past it for the most part of his time at West Brom so far, Bilic will no doubt be frustrated by the player’s showings and I think dropping him would be a logical choice.
“Put simply, Robson-Kanu provides a much more fluid option up top, with the Welshman more capable of dropping deep to link the play than Austin is able too.
“In addition to this, Austin doesn’t provide a strong threat in behind the opposition defence, with the striker having always lacked any form of pace, meaning he is unlikely to be very effective against Hull.
“Dropping Austin from the starting eleven would not only send a message to him personally, but also to the rest of the squad, as it would show Bilic cannot tolerate a lack of work rate from anyone.”
Should Bilic drop Charlie Austin for Hull City clash?
“I don’t think he should. Even though he’s struggled to make an impact since he arrived at the Hawthorns, Austin is still a fantastic striker and he’s more than capable of making an impact for West Brom in the Championship this season.
“He’s got plenty of experience and his goal record at this level for QPR and Burnley is exceptional. I think it’s only a matter of time before he starts scoring goals.
“If he can just get himself a goal, it should give him a huge boost and give him the confidence he needs to go on a bit of a run – dropping him at the weekend could harm his chances of doing that.
“Not only that, but Hal Robson-Kanu has been something of a super-sub for West Brom this season and should be used as more of an impact player in my opinion. I also think Austin is the better option to have up front rather than Kenneth Zohore.”