Sam Allardyce aiming to wheel and deal – and grab a big West Brom win

Masterminding a win over Wolves is his most pressing priority.

Sam Allardyce
Sam Allardyce

But Sam Allardyce knows Albion need signings if they are to achieve their aim of staying in the Premier League.

And the boss revealed a lack of funds is the reason why they are yet to make more additions this month.

The Baggies boss is working around the clock to bring in players he believes can keep the club in the Premier League.

So far he has signed Robert Snodgrass and Andy Lonergan.

But a small transfer kitty means he is largely being restricted to looking at loans and deals for free agents.

And he revealed he has missed out on three players this week after their club’s changed the terms of the loan arrangement late on.

“We’ve had three say yes that then turned into a no,” Allardyce said.

“Promises were there but when it came to the reality of completing, there was a change, there is suddenly another stipulation that we have to overcome.

“What’s difficult for us at the moment is that we can’t buy a player, we can only loan.

“We’ve had to look at players from aboard who we were told were available for loan.

“That’s generally an enticement by the club in Europe.

“They try to get you in – then they think when they have enticed you, you will go all the way.

“But unfortunately, in our situation, we can’t do that. We’ve had to say if it’s not a loan we can’t do that.

“We have to be patient. I cannot afford to bring a player into the club who isn’t good enough.”

Despite a frustrating week, Allardyce is still confident he will get the additions he needs – although he is concerned they won’t arrive until later in the window.

“I’m optimistic because there have been more players made available for loan this month than ever before,” he continued. “That is because everyone is struggling financially.

“I think if we can offer a subsidy to a club to take over a player’s salary and bonuses on top of that, that’s something that may arise, probably more towards the end of the window, rather than now.

“The problem is that there are four more games in that time and we cannot let them drift us by – they’re very crucial games for us.”

While Lonergan has come in as a third-choice goalkeeper after Jonathan Bond joined LA Galaxy, Robert Snodgrass is expected to make his Albion debut in the Black Country derby tomorrow.

“He (Snodgrass) wanted to play in the cup last week,” Allardyce said.

“He was that keen, but we didn’t finish the paperwork on time. We could’ve given him an hour or so.

“He’s short of match practice, he’s fit as a fiddle and he’s going to tackle this challenge head-on.

“He’ll tire because of his lack of games, but we’ll protect him. I’m delighted we have got him, I think he is going to be a very important player for us.”

Albion have won just once in 17 Premier League outings this term.

But their season hit a new low last week when they were dumped out the FA Cup by League One Blackpool.

Despite that loss, though, Allardyce firmly believes the squad he inherited from Slaven Bilic has the fight needed to stay up.

“They are definitely up for the fight,” he continued. “Everbody is working as hard as they can.

“Sometimes it’s misguided – which is proven by results, it’s certainly proven by what happened at Blackpool.

“We had two lapses of concentration. But at the level we are we shouldn’t be making those mistakes – it was supposed to be Blackpool.

“There is a lot we need to improve. We need to lift our performance levels. We need to improve our consistency, our ability. When we are defending we need to learn how to quickly transition into attack.

“We need to create and score more goals. And then we need to get better at keeping clean sheets at the other end.

“What sounds very easy is proving very difficult for us at the minute. But we can do it.”

Allardyce says improvement for a lot of the players will come from talking and learning from each other.

“I’ve been in this position many times before and so have my coaching staff,” he continued.

“We will guide them. But within the dressing room they need to talk to each other.

“They need to talk about their performances as a team and how they have performed with the information and tactics we have given them.

“It’s really important the players look each other in the eye and talk about how, as a group, we can get better.

“They’ve worked so hard to get here, but you’ve got to fight harder to stay here.

“Now they have got the chance to show that fight against Wolves.

“We need a win and if it comes against our local rivals down the road, that’d make me absolutely ecstatic as much for the fans as ourselves.

“Another three points would make such a difference - not just against our local rivals, but when we pick the paper up on Sunday it’s 11 points, double figures - you’ve broken the barrier.”

Albion fans had been hoping injured trio Hal Robson-Kanu, Conor Townsend and Sam Field would be available for the Wolves game.

Robson-Kanu suffered a set-back to the broken arm he picked up at Southampton following a training ground collision, while Townsend and Field both have knee issues.

But all three are again set to miss out.

Key Battle: Adama Traore v Kieran Gibbs

Albion’s left – or Wolves’ right – is highly likely to be a key area.

In Gibbs, the Baggies have a very capable Premier League left-back. But the former England international has seen his career blighted by injury in recent years and will enter this clash nursing a quad problem.

A rapid Traore, when on song, is a nightmare for defenders anyway. But he is surely an even bigger concern when you a nursing a knock.

Traore is also a doubt but is expected to be fit.

If he doesn’t make it, though, Gibbs could still come up against Pedro Neto – who many believe has been Wolves’ best player this season and who started on the right in the defeat to Everton.

The Gibbs versus Traore or Neto battle is sure to be key to this fixture.

Memory Lane - February 12, 2012

One of the most enjoyable days in Albion’s recent history, the Baggies ran riot against their Black Country rivals to secure a thumping 5-1 win.

It was all square at the break after Peter Odemwingie’s deflected strike had been cancelled out by Steven Fletcher. But Albion then ran riot as Odemwingie went on to complete his hat-trick and Jonas Olsson and Keith Andrews netted.

Wolves sacked manager Mick McCarthy the following day.

Line up

Albion (4-5-1): Johnstone, Furlong, Ajayi, O’Shea, Gibbs, Snodgrass, Pereira, Livermore, Sawyers, Diangana, Robinson. Subs: Button, Kipre, Ivanovic, Bartley, Harper, Krovinovic, Edwards, Phillips, Grosicki.

Joseph Masi’s prediction

Albion win

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