Kevin Phillips believes that playing the remainder of the EFL campaign behind closed doors ‘may aid’ West Bromwich Albion in their bid for automatic promotion.
The Championship campaign is set to provisionally resume on the 20th of June, having been out of action for over two months due to current events.
This brought a halt to West Brom’s push for promotion, but they will be looking to hit the ground running when the season resumes in less than three weeks.
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The Baggies currently sit second in the Championship table, one point off table-toppers Leeds United and six clear of Fulham who occupy third spot.
The final nine games of the campaign are set to be played without fans with the public’s safety the ultimate priority, but former Albion star Phillips believes that could aid the Baggies as they look to win promotion.
As per the Express and Star, he said: “I think playing behind closed doors is going to impact the game in various ways. Of course there is a massive impact on the clubs financially.
“But from a player’s point of view, when you are growing up you want to be a footballer to prove you are good enough and so that you can showcase your skills. Playing in front of fans, in an atmosphere like you get at The Hawthorns, is what it’s all about.
“It is absolutely huge that Albion have something to play for.
“For 37 games they have been excellent. They are on the brink of promotion and they will want to get the job done. They are going to be motivated. But when you are playing for a team with nothing to play for and there is no crowd watching – I think there will be some players who think ‘what’s the point?’
“That’s going to affect your performance.”
Before the EFL was brought to a halt, West Brom were winless in their previous two outings, so they will be hoping to hit the ground running once the season resumes.
There’s nothing like the roar of the stadium on a matchday, but Albion will have to play without that noise in less than three weeks.
The Baggies are one of the most exciting teams to watch in the Championship so if they play their own game, they will play teams off the park.
The fans really help to generate a tempo in their play, though, so whether Albion struggle remains to be seen.