Kevin Phillips has urged Alex Palmer to seek a loan move this January.
The former Baggies striker has issued the challenge for Palmer to prepare himself for next season by going out on loan for the remainder of this campaign.
With Sam Johnstone expected to potentially leave in the Summer, Phillips believes Palmer needs to gain experience to be ready to replace the Englishman going forward.
“He just needs to go and play, let’s put it that way,” said Phillips via West Brom News.
“Where? Who knows? But I would say, ‘Just go and play’ and get yourself ready for next season because Sam [Johnstone] will probably leave.
“Although, if West Brom get promoted to the Premier League, he might want to stay.
Palmer is yet to feature in the league for West Brom, but he did play in the Carabao Cup earlier this season. He has also appeared six times for West Brom in the Premier League Division 2, keeping one clean sheet.
“If you’re getting to play, then go and get yourself ready for next season.
“I think the crucial thing is to just go and get minutes, which is the most obvious thing.”
Palmer, 25, has gone out on loan six times since joining West Brom in 2015. He has played for the likes of Oldham Athletic, Notts County and Plymouth Argyle.
Most recently, Palmer spent the 2020-21 season with Lincoln City, where the club finished fifth in League One.
West Brom are currently fourth in the Championship, four points off the automatic promotion places, albeit having played a game more than second place Fulham.
Palmer has experience going out on loan to the lower levels of English football at this point. Phillips is being too rash to suggest he needs to simply go anywhere, as he’s done that over the years.
A loan to a lower level Championship club should be the target, given the expectation that would be on him if he was to come in for Johnstone next season.
However, staying at the club and fighting for his place could also be worthwhile. If West Brom know Johnstone could be leaving in the Summer then it would be beneficial to give Palmer some games in the FA Cup and in a few league games come the end of the season.
Also, given the uncertainty of players’ availability during the current wave of the Omicron variant then having a solid backup keeper will be essential in case of any emergency.