Express & Star

Conor Townsend: West Brom strikers will find their shooting boots

Conor Townsend has backed Albion’s forwards to flourish during the season ahead.


The Baggies, who take on Oxford tonight, have played some good football in their four pre-season friendlies so far.

But while they have created lots of chances, they have struggled to take them with team beaten at Stevenage and held to a draw by Crewe in matches they should have won convincingly.

Albion also lacked a cutting edge in the final third last season.

But they have a squad of talented forward players.

And Townsend is confident it’s only matter of time before the goals start to flow.

“We know that we need to work on that (chance conversion) and that’s the same as last season as well, I guess,” Townsend said.

“As far as our defensive stats last season, we were still pretty good. Scoring goals was our problem.

“But that is on us as a team, that’s not just on the strikers, that’s down to all of us.

“It’s better that we are creating chances, I’d be worried if we weren’t creating any. But we’ve got players who are going to get goals.

“Grady (Diangana) looks like he is flying. He has come back and is on it.

“And with the people we have got in the squad, you’d be hopeful we are going to convert those chances.

“We’ve created lots of opportunities in the friendlies. It will come.

“A lot of it with the strikers is confidence, when one goes in they will flourish.” Albion have signed Jed Wallace and John Swift this summer to bring more creativity and goals to the squad.

And Townsend both those players are going to make a big difference.

“On the pitch you can see they have both got quality,” the full-back continued.

“Jed is non-stop running. We’ve had the stats up and I think he’s probably covered the most ground in the squad.

“Swifty is a calm head and I think both complement the squad really well. They are both good characters, they are good lads.

“We went out to Portugal and they have really integrated into the group and into the team. Going forward they are great additions.”

Last season, Townsend was utilised as a wing-back under former boss Valerien Ismael.

Steve Bruce, though, believes both him and Darnell Furlong are better suited to playing as full-backs with a winger in front of them.

Townsend says he is happy in either role.

But he knows it’s vital he has a positive relationship with whoever is in front of him to ensure Albion are a threat down the left side.

“Last season we had that way (wing-backs) of playing,” Townsend added.

“It’s just getting used to having someone in front of me and I’ve got to be a bit more defensive-minded with there not being as many centre-backs on the pitch.

I am happy in either role. I feel comfortable in both. It’s just getting that relationship with the wingers, whether that’s Granty (Karlan Grant), Grady, Matty (Matt Phillips) or Reachy (Adam Reach).

“It’s about getting that relationship with your winger and trying to get the best out of what they want and what I want.”