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Jimmy Shan pleased to get his West Brom squad players up to speed

By Matt Wilson | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

Jimmy Shan was pleased to give his squad players valuable minutes against Reading as the Baggies booked their place in the play-offs.

Jimmy Shan. (AMA)

Albion earned their first goalless draw in the league this season at the Madejski Stadium, as Shan made five changes to his side.

The caretaker boss was delighted with the clean sheet, and impressed with Sam Field on his first start since February, but he was most pleased to get his squad players up to speed.

"You never know who you'll need and when you'll need them," said Shan, who has picked up 16 points from his eight games in charge. "We had a meeting as match staff and once it was confirmed I was taking it to the end of the season, this looked like an ideal chance to give people minutes.

"The idea is to try and build momentum, that's not just about winning games, it's about performances.

"I'm most pleased with the clean sheet and our ability to defend 25 and 30 yards from goal, I thought that was outstanding."

Field was particularly impressive in central midfield, having not featured for several weeks, and the 20-year-old lined up alongside fellow academy graduate Rekeem Harper in the engine room.

"Sam Field's been away from it for a while," said Shan. "He played in our U23s against Man Utd and I had some rave reviews on his performance from people inside and outside of the club.

"I thought he was excellent. Rekeem was alongside him, that's a 19 and a 20 year old who have come through our academy and I was delighted with their maturity and quality.

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"Hal Robson-Kanu and Jacob Murphy went back to back, Matty Phillips got some more minutes, I was delighted with the way we utilised the squad."

When Shan was asked if Field and Harper had given him a headache going into the play-offs, he said: "I've had a headache every time I've looked at the board and the magnets with names on.

"We've got a big squad, we've also got a squad with high quality. What it does do is make the end of the season very competitive.

"The added bonus is those players have got match minutes under their belts, so they're not going into any game should we need them having not played for many weeks."

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It was a dull first half at the Madejski Stadium but the game livened up after the break, when Harper and Jay Rodriguez both hit the woodwork for Albion while Reading had a strong penalty appeal waved away.

"I thought it was a slow first half, their injuries and substitutions contributed to that," said Shan. "It was a dry day and the pitch was quite slow so the ball didn't travel quickly. I don't think we really got going.

"The second half was a frantic game at times, they looked a threat on the counter but we defended well throughout the game.

"Rekeem's chance was a great effort, Jay's strike was a good one, we had one cleared off the line, a Kyle Bartley header from a set play, we looked a constant threat in the final third which was pleasing."

Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson
Football MMPJ - @mattwilson_star

Sports reporter at the Express & Star, who primarily covers West Bromwich Albion.

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