West Bromwich Albion midfielder Robert Snodgrass has set himself the goal of dragging his side back to the Premier League after being unable to save them from the drop last term, speaking about this disappointment to the Express and Star.
The former Scotland international arrived at The Hawthorns in January this year, but was only able to make eight top-flight appearances for the Baggies in the second half of last season, suffering with a series of injuries before being ruled out for the rest of the 2020/21 campaign in May, requiring back surgery to get to full fitness.
This operation and long recovery meant he was ruled out in the early stages of this season, though the likes of Callum Robinson and summer signing Alex Mowatt stepped up admirably in the early stages of the campaign to mitigate the effects of losing the experienced 34-year-old and go unbeaten in their opening ten league games.
Quiz: Have West Brom ever won an away game at each of these 20 stadiums?
He finally returned to action with the club’s Under-23s in mid-August, hitting the ground running as he scored twice and grabbed one assist in his first game back, before finally re-joining the first team and making his first senior appearance of the 2021/22 campaign in a cameo against Derby County the following month.
It took him a while to get back into Valerien Ismael’s Championship matchday squad after that, but made another cameo at Swansea City last month before starting the following four games, appearing alongside the likes of Jayson Molumby and captain Jake Livermore in the absence of Alex Mowatt.
Losing their last three away games and only being able to draw against Middlesbrough last weekend, the Baggies have lost ground on the top two and suffered a setback in their quest to get back to the Premier League at the first time of asking, something Snodgrass is desperate to guide them to after being absent for the business end of 2020/21.
Speaking to the Express and Star about his ambitions for the West Midland side, he said: “I came here to save the club from relegation.
“I didn’t achieve that, but I want to play my part in getting it back to where it belongs this year because it’s a great club.
“I’m as hungry as ever and that’s why I’ve done months of rehab.
“Getting my first start in seven or eight months was a great feeling. I want to kick on and the more minutes I get, the better I’ll become.”
With the lack of depth they had in the middle of the park at the start of the campaign, the return of Snodgrass has been a big boost for the Baggies who will be hoping to count on his top-flight experience to keep them at the top end of the Championship.
Alex Mowatt and Jake Livermore established themselves as an effective starting duo earlier in the season, but the likes of Molumby and the 34-year-old will help to create competition and maximise performance levels in what is a high-intensity system.
Ismael certainly hasn’t been afraid to chop and change his front line throughout 2021/22 so far – and with a busy Christmas period coming up – depth may also come in handy in the middle of the park.
The former West Ham man’s presence will not only help to retain competition in the middle, but could enable promising midfielder Quevin Castro to go out on loan, something that could be useful for his development having received a very limited number of first-team opportunities at The Hawthorns thus far.
Snodgrass’ contract runs out next summer though, so he will need to make a real impact between now and the end of the season if he wants to earn a contract extension.