West Brom have been battling hard at the top end of the Championship table so far this season and boss Valerien Ismael has no plans to take it easy heading into the winter window, telling Birmingham Live that his side have been ‘preparing in the background already’ for the turn of the year.
The manager was impressive during his tenure at Barnsley and was subsequently poached by the Baggies, where he has continued to excel. The club are right up where they would want to be in the table and are determined to bounce back into the Premier League.
There’s no doubting that West Brom already have a good squad on their hands, with the likes of Karlan Grant, Alex Mowatt, Callum Robinson and Conor Townsend all impressing for the Baggies on a regular basis. Rather than rest on his laurels and be happy with the options he has available to him though, Ismael is already preparing to strengthen his side even more in the January transfer window.
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Speaking to Birmingham Live, he said: “For sure we are intensifying the players, but we have been preparing in the background already, you don’t start one week or two weeks before the window opens.
“It’s all a process. We know exactly where we want to see players. It’s all about assessing which players can play how we want after 17 games.
“Now we have more of a picture more of a feeling about which players suit the philosophy, where needs to be addressed and which young players are able to step in and move to the next level with us.”
The side are currently in third place and have already put some distance between themselves and seventh-place, meaning their play-off hopes are high right now. However, they would ideally have liked to seal an automatic spot and whilst it is still doable, Fulham have now opened up a six point gap between themselves and West Brom.
It means that there is some catching up to do if they want to have any hope of sealing a return to the Premier League without the stress of a play-off campaign – and Ismael is already preparing his troops, and his bank balance, for the second half of the campaign it seems.
West Brom are an extremely strong outfit already, so the prospect of them getting even stronger is a worry for the rest of the Championship. Any additions to the side will be a boost, as the more names that can be called upon in cup competitions and in rotation can only aid the squad going forward.
If they can bring in the right players and get results, there is no reason why they can’t sneak into the automatic places. They may be a few points behind but they are more than capable of closing that gap.