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West Brom preparing Daryl Dike for Championship demands

Boss Valerien Ismael says Daryl Dike is currently working on a four-week fitness programme to ensure he can cope with the relentless demands of the Championship.

 Daryl Dike in the stands for West Brom's FA Cup clash with Brighton (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).
Daryl Dike in the stands for West Brom's FA Cup clash with Brighton (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

But while he isn’t yet quite up to speed, the striker is still expected to make his debut at QPR on Saturday.

Dike was snapped on the first day of the transfer window for an initial £7million from Orlando City.

And with Albion’s having lacked a prolific striker all season, fans are desperate to see him in action.

But the 21-year-old hasn’t played since the MLS season ended at the start of November.

And Ismael says it will take time before Dike is up to match speed.

“At the minute Daryl Dike is on his own programme – we have a four-week plan for him,” Ismael said.

“The first week he had been doing individual training with our sports science department to make sure that he had a good build-up.

“This week he is training with the team with the purpose of building him up for the game at QPR.

“He’s at a good level. He played with consistency last year and last season.

“But he’ll need two or three weeks to get to at a better level to be able to compete. When you see our schedule the end of January and start of February, it will be very intense with a game every three days.

“We have to make sure Daryl is able to sustain the rhythm.

“We will need to manage him step by step.

“But the first step is to make sure he comes at a good fitness level to help his team-mates.”

As well as Dike, Albion will also be able to call on Matt Phillips at QPR.

The forward picked up a muscle problem back in November.

But he returned to the side for the FA Cup clash with Brighton last weekend.

“We saw against Brighton that the last five weeks without him (Phillips), it was very difficult to get something special from the front three,” Ismael said. “He can keep the ball in the front three. He is able to combine with team-mates and he has quality.

“He can play in the nine position. Because of his quality, he can run in-behind.

“It’s another player who has come back and has given us more options.”

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