Daryl Dike and Karlan Grant battling to lead line for West Brom
Daryl Dike and Karlan Grant are competing to lead the line for Albion at Middlesbrough, manager Steve Bruce has confirmed.
And the boss has also refused to rule out Kenneth Zohore playing a part this year, despite the striker having so far struggled to make an impression during pre-season.
The Baggies kick-off their Championship campaign at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday.
And Bruce has confirmed it will either be Dike or Grant that starts up front.
The American striker is still getting himself up to full speed after missing the last six months of last season with a thigh problem.
But he scored an excellent goal in the friendly win over Hertha Berlin on Saturday.
Grant, meanwhile, was Albion’s top scorer on 18 goals last season.
There are many fans who feel he is at his best playing off the left.
But he also faces competition from Grady Diangana to start in that role.
“Of course they’re competing,” Bruce said when asked if it’s between Dike and Grant to start as Albion’s central striker at Boro.
“Competition is what I try to create. We had a meeting where I said to them, ‘if we’re going to be successful, we’re going to need a squad of players’. They’re going head-to-head. Can we bring Zohore in to the action as well? He’s trying.
“It’s been difficult for him but the more competition you’ve got, the better.”
Bruce said Albion are going to do everything they can to keep Dike fit this season – with the stiker’s confidence having been lifted following his goal against Berlin.
“It’s been difficult for the lad because when you’re coming back from an awful injury, sometimes there are little niggles here and there,” the boss added.
“He was a bit concerned last week because he had a bit of a sore groin, but the goal he scored will do him the world of good. It was a really good header.
“We just hope he can stay fit and stay well, that’s the key.
“Can we keep him in a good position?”