Future of West Brom pair assessed as Albion and Leeds are sent promotion warning
The message from below
Fulham captain Tom Cairney doesn’t believe that the Cottagers have yet hit the heights they’re capable of with the Championship season in limbo and the club trailing West Brom and Leeds United in the race for automatic promotion.
With nine matches left to play, and the entire division awaiting the resumption of the league calendar that has been suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, Fulham lie six points behind Albion and seven adrift of league leaders Leeds.
From the division’s summit is where Slaven Bilic and Marcelo Bielsa have enjoyed a comfortable view for most of the season, but in truth Fulham and Scott Parker have never been all too far behind.
Big things to come
Grady Diangana has endured a more frustrating 2020 than most, it must be said.
His highly anticipated comeback in West Brom colours, pencilled in around a month after his initial injury, suffered an infuriating set-back on his return to the starting line-up, within minutes of Albion getting underway against Stoke City.
Closing in on a return once more, eager to join in with Matheus Pereira, Callum Robinson and co, West Ham loanee Diangana was aiming for the Easter period and the final six or seven matches, acting as another attacking force who would be looking to help Albion and Slaven Bilic over the line in their promotion bid.
Earning his stripes
Former West Brom favourite Romelu Lukaku is putting his time under quarantine to good use – he’s studying to become a coach!
The ex Albion loanee, who scored 17 goals for the club in 2012-13, is not out in Italy with Serie A big hitters Inter Milan, who had been faring well this term under Antonio Conte before the coronavirus pandemic had its detrimental impact on the nation.
In the meantime Lukaku, who has scored 23 goals for Inter in his first campaign in Italy, is studying for his UEFA A and B diplomas via an online service.
The former Manchester United star is not the only Belgian to begin looking towards the future, either.
Steps five and six of the non league footballing pyramid have been instructed by the Football Association to end their seasons immediately because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Essex Senior League, via its official Twitter account, posted: “Following on from the pre-arranged Webex meeting today with the FA and our colleagues in Step 5/6 leagues, The FA have confirmed that the season 2019/20 must end immediately.
“The consensus was there is no option of any football being played for the rest of this season due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
“Even if the FA were to extend, it wasn’t going to be possible to complete remaining games, also subject to being allowed to socialise by May.”
West Brom and Callum Robinson – what happens next?
The loanee, borrowed from Sheffield United in the January transfer window, had the desired impact immediately at The Hawthorns when he helped to reverse the Baggies’ poor form and emerge from a run in February that was so impressive it earned Slaven Bilic the manager of the month award.
Robinson so far has scored a couple and has played a hand in a number of other goals from his teammates, too.
Furthermore, his on-field and off-field friendships are blossoming with the likes of Filip Krovinovic and Matheus Pereira; his emergence and ability to hit the ground running has certainly cushioned the blow of losing Grady Diangana to injury for so long.
Nottingham Forest defender Michael Dawson insists that the Championship season must be completed – and that the idea of allowing Leeds United and West Brom to be promoted without another ball being kicked is unfair.
Forest are currently in fifth place, occupying one of the play-off positions, but they have ambitions still to catch Albion and Leeds, who are clear of the chasing pack as the land lies.
Forest are ten points adrift of second placed Albion with nine matches still to play, while Fulham and Brentford are in the same boat as the East Midlanders too.