West Brom supporters may have seen less of Chris Brunt this season than in any of his other 12 years at The Hawthorns, but they can rest assured that the departing captain has been as inspirational behind the scenes as ever.
Albion, one victory in their final clash of the season away from promotion, will bid farewell to the skipper, who brings the curtain down on his extensive stay during which time he’s achieved two promotions of his own – adding a third to that tally would be a fitting send-off indeed.
Whether he gets onto the pitch at any stage against Queens Park Rangers – incidentally the same final-day opponents in 2008 when Brunt’s free kick secured the title – will depend on a number of factors.
West Brom welcome Queens Park Rangers to The Hawthorns on Wednesday knowing that a victory will seal their return to the Premier League.
Albion hold their own future in their hands after their defeat at Huddersfield on Friday went unpunished by Brentford, who would have jumped into second place had they not been beaten themselves by Stoke City.
The Hoops, Brentford’s West London rivals – and fellow promotion rivals Fulham too, for that matter – have little to play for sat in mid-table, though they did come out on top in an exciting 4-3 encounter against another London club, Millwall, on Saturday.
The idea of aiding either of their rivals’ promotion bids doesn’t appeal to too many Rs fans, though!
This is what they’ve been saying ahead of the game.
Nathan Ferguson has completed his move to Premier League Crystal Palace, the club have confirmed.
The defender, who came through West Brom’s ranks as a centre half before being converted into a full-back capable of playing on both sides of the defence, made 21 appearances for Albion and scored once after breaking into the first team under Slaven Bilic.
With his contract up this summer, a new deal couldn’t be struck between the Baggies and Ferguson’s representatives and the 19-year-old has been able to sign elsewhere.
Because, as expected, he has moved within England, a tribunal will decide how much Palace must now pay Albion by way of compensation because the player is under the age of 23 and is homegrown.
Slaven Bilic has revealed that he’s been contacted by friends from around the footballing world ahead of West Brom’s season finale against Queens Park Rangers this evening.
Three points on offer at The Hawthorns stand between Albion and a return to the Premier League, with two clubs below them snapping at their heels to ensure they keep at it until 2130 hours tonight.
The magnitude of the meeting is proven by the people who have got in touch with Bilic in the build up to it – many times this season the Albion boss has emphasised how popular the Championship is around Europe.
He embraces the pressure, rather than shirks it, and hopes his players reflect that attitude when they take to the field against the Hoops.
Play a part
West Brom fans mightn’t be able to give Chris Brunt the send off befitting his loyalty on Wednesday – but they’re making sure that the man himself knows how grateful they are for his 13 years of service.
Brunt is expected to be a part of the match-day squad for the final time when Albion take on Queens Park Rangers at The Hawthorns, knowing that a victory will be enough to secure promotion back to the Premier League at the second time of asking.
And with no Baggies supporters permitted entry to the stadium on match-day because of the pandemic, they’re exploring different ways in which they can say thank you and farewell.
Jay Rod backing
Jay Rodriguez is hopeful of seeing former club West Brom back in the Premier League by Wednesday night.
The Burnley forward, who netted 33 goals in two seasons at The Hawthorns before returning to his boyhood club last summer, still retains fond memories of his spell at the Baggies.
Indeed he penned a farewell message off his own back upon departing for Turf Moor, such was the bond he shared with the club and the fanbase.
Ahead of Albion’s crunch match against Queens Park Rangers on Wednesday night – they know a win would lift them back into the top flight at the second time of asking – the striker, who has 11 goals to his name for the Clarets this term, shared a best wishes message.
Queens Park Rangers will be going all out to spoil West Brom’s promotion party, manager Mark Warburton has warned.
Hoops boss Warburton, whose side have little to play for ahead of their final game of the season at The Hawthorns on Wednesday, accepts that the bigger picture affects Albion, as well as West London rivals Brentford and Fulham, more.
A win for the Baggies will secure promotion back to the Premier League, while the prospect of Albion being held by their visitors from the capital will let the Bees and the Cottagers in.
Despite there not being much on the line for Rangers, Warburton insists that they’ll be arriving with the intention of claiming three more points.