Express & Star

Steve Bruce threatening to wield the axe for West Brom Preston trip

Steve Bruce has threatened to wield the axe on Albion players if costly errors continue.

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The Baggies head to Preston tomorrow evening in need of an upturn in fortunes as calls for the manager’s head continue to grow louder.

Albion performances have been littered with mistakes with the team languishing in 21st in the Championship. “If you keep making mistake after mistake, unfortunately, at this level that we play at, then ultimately you’re not good enough,” Bruce said.

“If the same person keeps making them, then ultimately you have to come out of the team.

“It’s the only thing you can do. It’s quite unbelievable, confidence, and it’s how you deal with it, but that’s the mentality of a big player.

"You have to have a certain mentality to play at a club like ours, especially in the Championship because of the expectation – we should be at the top end of the division, and that’s been born over the last 20 years.”

Goalkeeper David Button, 33, has endured a torrid time with mistakes for some key goals, with Albion having shipped far more goals than statistics (expected goals against – xGA) suggest they should have.

Albion’s xGA reveals a quality of chance should equate to 11 goals against them from 11 games, but instead the Baggies have shipped 17 in league action. Some fans have called for change between the sticks, with Alex Palmer, 26, waiting in reserve.

Bruce said on Button: “Look, he knows, like everybody else knows, that you’re judged on results. When goals keep going in your net, of course, you will be frustrated and disappointed. There’s nobody more disappointed than Butts.

“He’s like all of us. We have to all do the basics – work hard and make sure you’re mentally ready for the battle ahead.”

Taylor Gardner-Hickman is poised for a return to the squad tonight after missing out on Saturday, while Bruce might freshen up his midfield with Jayson Molumby and Okay Yokuslu waiting in the wings for a recall.