West Bromwich Albion’s first season back in the Championship was a rather erratic one which ultimately ended in bitter disappointment.
Despite finishing rock-bottom of the Premier League, Darren Moore’s side were a pre-season tip to return to the top-flight at the first time of asking, and the early signs were good.
The attacking trio of Dwight Gayle, Jay Rodriguez and Harvey Barnes quickly became one of the most deadly in the league , propelling the Baggies well into contention to win automatic promotion.
Barnes in particular was a revelation. After a decent spell on loan at Barnsley from Leicester City at the back end of the previous season he was granted an upgrade, signing for West Brom for the season.
The 21-year-old continued where he had left off the previous season and by the time New Year rolled around he had racked up nine goals and seven assists in 26 appearances.
However, that run of form turned out to be a little too good as far as West Brom were concerned.
The Foxes had been watching their exciting young winger tearing it up in the Championship and decided that he could be of serious use, so they decided to recall him.
It left a huge hole in the West Brom attack but they were clearly eager to fill it and on deadline day, three proven Championship aces arrived on loan.
Stefan Johansen had played a big part in Fulham’s promotion in the previous campaign, whilst Jefferson Montero had shown real quality with Swansea.
Two seasons earlier Jacob Murphy had shone with Norwich City, earning him a move to Newcastle United but after fallen out of favour, was allowed to leave for the second half of the season.
So, surely the combined might of these three attackers should, at the very least, make up for the loss of Barnes if not better it.
Well, sadly for West Brom, they fell dramatically short. Between them they only managed to directly contribute to nine goals, with five of those contributions coming from Johansen.
The failure of the move was confirmed when Darren Moore was sacked in February after a poor run of form saw them slip out of the battle for the top two.
Barnes really was a loss that massively hampered West Brom’s season.