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‘Potential to run riot in the Championship’ – West Brom fan pundit assesses January transfer target

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This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Regular Punter’ series, where we gather original opinions from select, passionate fans of the clubs concerned on matters surrounding their team and share them with a wider audience…

Football League World’s West Bromwich Albion fan pundit Sarah Rudge has suggested that a forward line of Charlie Austin and Dwight Gayle could “run riot in the Championship” and would help them to seal promotion.

The Shields Gazette has reported that the Baggies could make a fresh move to sign Gayle in January after missing out on the 28-year-old in the summer.

The forward was a huge success on loan at the Hawthorns last season, scoring 24 goals and providing eight assists, and Rudge indicated that his return could have a huge impact on their promotion hopes.

She explained: “Austin and Gayle as a partnership up front has all of the potential to run riot in the Championship and I thoroughly believe if we were to acquire Gayle or someone of that ilk we could find ourselves playing top-flight football next season.

“I still think with just Austin, Kenneth Zohore and Hal Robson-Kanu as our front men we have a very good chance of promotion due to the attacking threat we have from midfield and out wide. However, the addition of Gayle would be the icing on the cake.”

Rudge issued her verdict on Gayle’s performances in the 2018/19 season.

She said: “In a word, magnificent.

“A few of our supporters ‘blamed’ him and felt we could have beaten Aston Villa had he not been sent off (still harshly in my opinion) but we would have been nowhere near the play-offs at all had it not been for Gayle.

“His partnership with Jay Rodriguez was instrumental in us finishing fourth and his goal return was incredibly impressive.

“He is one of the most clinical strikers I’ve seen at the club and we’ve had some very good ones over the years.”

Gayle has reportedly been struggling to get over a calf injury at Newcastle United, despite seeing a specialist earlier this month, and Rudge revealed that his fitness was the only thing that concerned her about a potential deal.

She added: “Should he recover by the time January comes around I would have no qualms in trying to sign him again.

“We are still light in the attacking department and there are few better at Championship level than Gayle.”

West Brom face Fulham on Saturday knowing that a win could take them as high as second in the Championship. 

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