New West Bromwich Albion signing Alex Mowatt has spoken about how the Baggies squad is desperate to win promotion next season in an interview with talkSPORT 2, but acknowledges how ‘tough’ the Championship is after the club’s relegation.
Mowatt, 26, was new manager Valerien Ismael’s first signing of the summer after the pair spent last season together at Barnsley, with both overseeing their rise from near the bottom of the Championship table to the play-off places last season.
However, it wasn’t all been plain sailing for the midfielder at Oakwell, with the Tykes coming within a whisker of relegation at the end of the 2019/20 campaign and only being saved by Wigan Athletic’s point deduction in the end.
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The 26-year-old spoke out about the challenges the second tier brings and his side’s aims for the upcoming season in a radio interview with talkSport 2, saying (quotes via Birmingham Live): “It’s a massive club (West Brom).
“Everyone wants to go back to the Premier League this season, but we know how tough this league is – I certainly do after being in it for a while.
“All the boys have experience of getting out of this league, so I think it’s a great challenge for everyone involved. It wasn’t too bad, the first day – I knew four of the lads anyway, and then the gaffer and some of the other staff have come too.
“It’s not been too bad, to be honest. I don’t feel like a new boy. I feel settled in already, and the lads have been really good in helping me do that.
“The expectation drives everyone on. Everyone wants to play in the Premier League, but it’s never just that easy to go and win the league just because you’ve come down.”
In their quest to gain promotion, Ismael and his recruitment team are on the search for more signings, with Brighton and Hove Albion centre-back Matt Clarke set to come in as the West Midland side’s second signing after the Trevoh Chalobah deal hit a stumbling block.
However, this deal for the 22-year-old Chelsea man could still happen at some point – and they will be hoping to get it over the line quickly with under a month to go until their Championship opener against AFC Bournemouth on August 6th.
Mowatt has enough experience at the likes of Barnsley and Leeds United to know how difficult it is to compete in a division like the English second tier.
Along with West Brom, fellow recently relegated sides Fulham and Sheffield United, as well as previous promotion-chasers AFC Bournemouth and Swansea City, will all be competing for the two automatic promotion spots.
With Brentford losing to Barnsley on the final day of the 2019/20 campaign, this presented the Baggies with an opportunity to win second place and they didn’t need a second invitation, putting their future league status beyond all doubt before the play-offs.
Speaking of the play-offs, previous campaigns have shown it’s a lottery with the form book going completely out the window and they will be hoping to avoid them again as they aim to compete at the top of the Championship table.