Express & Star

Darren Moore challenges others to step up as West Brom hunt Harvey Barnes replacement

Darren Moore has challenged Albion’s other attacking stars to step up in the wake of Harvey Barnes’s departure – as the club begins hunting his replacement.

Harvey Barnes. Pic: AMA

Barnes’s brief but brilliant stay at The Hawthorns came to an abrupt halt on Friday when parent club Leicester City opted to trigger the recall on his loan agreement.

The Baggies are considering possible replacements, with Brentford forward Romaine Sawyers thought to be among several potential targets.

But Moore was also keen to point out Barnes’ exit offers an opportunity to others in his squad, including Hal Robson-Kanu, Bakary Sako and Jonathan Leko.

The boss will, meanwhile, sit down with Wes Hoolahan to discuss the playmaker’s future during next week’s warm-weather training camp in Dubai.

Moore said: “First and foremost, you look within your existing squad. We’ve got some talented individuals more than capable of filling the shoes Harvey’s left.

“It presents an opportunity for someone to step in and stake a claim. That’s the competition we have at the club.

“Harvey has been pivotal in the first part of the season, scoring nine goals. But I’ve looked back at that stats, we’ve scored 54 goals so it clearly shows the team has a lot of players in different areas who can contribute and score.”

Leicester boss Claude Puel opted to recall Barnes yesterday morning, with the departure of Fousseni Diabate creating space in the Foxes squad.

Moore continued: “There’s no disappointment, Harvey was brought here for a reason and he’s served that.

“Please, everybody, don’t be disappointed. Be thankful he chose us. He’s had a feel of West Brom, he’s got wonderful memories in his heart and mind about West Brom.”

Asked if the loss of Barnes had placed more urgency on the club’s January recruitment, Moore replied: “We feel no more urgent than we felt with the January window coming. If it’s right and the right players become available we’ll make additions to the squad.”

Hoolahan's future will now be thrashed out next week, with the 36-year-old's short-term contract due to expire.

Moore said: "It’s funny how the game works. Harvey goes back and we have Wes in the building.

"He gives our team a different dimension. He is a clever player, how he plays the game and the space he operates in.

"He will be another that will want to stake a claim. I will sit down and speak with Wes in Dubai. It will be great to have a good chat with him."