The youngsters who could help West Brom bounce back

There aren’t many positives that come with a relegation.

Lincoln City's Callum Morton (L) and Sunderland's Luke O'Nien
Lincoln City's Callum Morton (L) and Sunderland's Luke O'Nien

But if – as expected – Albion are a Championship side next season, they will find it easier to integrate some of their talented youngsters into the first-team.

With the coronavirus pandemic still having a major impact on the finances at every football club, it’s unlikely second-tier sides will be splashing the cash this summer.

Here, Albion reporter Joseph Masi looks at four promising youngsters who may be ready for Championship football next season.

Alex Palmer

Lincoln City's Alex Palmer saves a shot on goal

Palmer was described as the best goalkeeper in League Two following a successful loan spell with Plymouth in the 2019/20 campaign.

And now the 24-year-old is being hailed as the best shot-stopper in League One due to his impressive performances for Lincoln.

A season in the Championship now looks to be the natural progression for the Kidderminster-born glovesman who has earned praise for both his shot-stopping ability and concentration levels.

A lot could depend on what happens with Sam Johnstone – with the England goalkeeper likely to attract interest from Premier League clubs this summer.

If Johnstone does move on, Palmer could be seen as the man to battle David Button for Albion’s number one jersey.

Josh Griffiths

Josh Griffiths.

Sticking with the goalkeeping department, Griffiths is a player who staff behind the scenes have long felt has the potential to be Albion’s No.1 one day.

The 19-year-old is currently enjoying an excellent loan spell with Cheltenham and – as it stands – has registered more clean sheets than any other shot-stopper in League Two.

Griffiths’ potential was underlined last week when he was called into the England under-21 squad for the first time.

It may be that Palmer’s experience means the teenager is sent out on loan again next season.

But he is certainly a player Albion fans need to be keeping tabs on.

Tim Iroegbunam

An 18-year-old central midfielder, Iroegbunam has made a big impression with Albion’s under-23s this season.

A well-rounded player, he is comfortable on the ball, has a real eye for a pass and also has the ability to chip in with a few goals.

Iroegbunam may need to bulk out a bit to cope with the demands of men’s football – with his physique sure to improve with time.

As it stands, though, Albion are currently playing three loanees in central midfield – with those players highly unlikely to be at the club next season.

Without doubt one of the most exciting talents at the club, the Baggies may feel Iroegbunam is a player who could feature in the first-team fold next season.

Callum Morton

Northampton Town's Callum Morton

Another player who has impressed while out on loan, Morton helped fire Northampton to League Two promotion last season and is now impressing again at Lincoln.

A clever finisher, the 21-year-old is desperate for a shot in Albion’s first-team with his exemplary attitude ensuring he will always give everything for the team.

But the big question surrounding the forward is fitness.

Morton ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee while on loan with Braintree in 2019.

And he has only just returned to action with Lincoln after suffering a bizarre pectoral injury which required surgery.

With Hal Robson-Kanu out of contract in the summer, though, Albion may be in need of a striker who can make an impact off the bench – with Morton potentially that man.

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