Express & Star

Steve Bruce content with West Brom centre back options

Manager Steve Bruce believes Albion have enough cover if they don’t sign a centre-back before the transfer window closes.


The Baggies will kick off their Championship campaign with Semi Ajayi, Dara O’Shea and Kyle Bartley their only fit centre-halves.

Bruce also has Kean Bryan in his ranks. But he is still some way from being fit after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in November last year.

Despite that lack of numbers, Albion allowed talented youngster Caleb Taylor to join Cheltenham on loan last week while Cedric Kipre has also left the club for Cardiff.

Bruce, though, believes in midfielders Jake Livermore and Okay Yokuslu he has two players who can fill in at the back if needed.

“We were so imbalanced there last year, we had six centre-backs,” Bruce said when asked if Taylor’s departure will see him enter the market for a new defender.

“We’ve obviously got Kean Bryan who is a long-term injury, so we’ve still got four official ones on the books.

“Unfortunately, though, he is still a little bit away.

“We’ve also got Okay who can play at centre-back if he wants.

“I’ve seen Livermore play there, he did that, at centre-back as well.

“We think we’ve got enough to cope. We felt it (the loan) was more for Taylor’s development, that’s more important.”

Albion have also sent Josh Griffiths and Quevin Castro out on loan to League One clubs this summer.

But Bruce admits he was tempted to keep Taylor in his squad this season.

“It was a big call,” the boss continued.

“For me, for the future of the club, we now have four or five out on loan, it’s huge for their development and how they develop.

“It’s difficult for a centre-back at 19 to come in and play week in, week out in the Championship.

“Let’s hope he can go there and get that under his belt. I’d imagine he’s going to be a success. We’ve got high hopes for him.

“Castro is the same at Burton. The young goalkeeper is the same down at Portsmouth.

“We think that’s the best way forward for the club, let’s hope it works out for them.”