West Brom will be heading into their clash with Fulham this weekend full of confidence following an impressive start to the season under Slaven Bilic.
The Croatian had a tricky task in the summer of rebuilding a squad that had been deprived of its leading mean from the previous campaign, with Dwight Gayle, Jay Rodriguez and Craig Dawson all departing for pastures new, but he has handled it very well.
A flurry of late signings arrived for the Baggies but confidence remained low, however, three wins and three draws from their opening six matches has left them in fourth place and the only remaining unbeaten side.
Fans are starting to wonder: ‘Could we actually do this?’
Away from first-team matters, another positive step was being taken further down the club ladder. One that shows that, despite plenty of criticism of the board, that they have their priorities straight.
During the summer, as well as that trio of on-field stars, West Brom lost a key man off it when their head of academy Mark Harrison left to join local rivals Aston Villa in the Premier League.
It was a big loss. Under his stewardship the Baggies had seen the likes of Kemar Roofe, Romaine Sawyers, Rekeem Harper, Kyle Edwards and Louie Barry progress through the club’s youth systems and the fans were keen not to see an end to that production line.
So, he was a figure who needed urgent replacement but he also needed to be replaced adequately, which was not going to be easy.
However, on Thursday, the Express and Star reported that the club were close to bringing in Coventry City’s Richard Stevens, somebody who has seen a lot of success in his field with the Sky Blues.
With their ensuing ownership issues rumbling on, they are a club who have not always had money available to them in the transfer window, so having a well run youth set-up has been a god’s send at times.
Callum Wilson and James Maddison, now both in the senior England set-up, are the two most notable graduates, but a glance at their recent first-teams show how that work has continued.
Jordan Shipley, Tom Bayliss, Lee Burge and Jordan Willis are all players to have had a big impact on first-team proceedings in the last couple of seasons to have come from that youth system.
During the last campaign, West Brom saw Harper and Edwards go on to make an impact on the first-team having moved through the youth sides. This time, it has been Nathan Ferguson who has caught the eye.
Who will be next?
Well, this appointment will guarantee that there are plenty more to come and that the Hawthorns crowd get to keep on cheering players who are very much their own.