Express & Star

West Brom hopeful of a big post-break boost

Albion left-back Conor Townsend has revealed the "boost" he and team-mates will feel with colleagues due back to fitness imminently.

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Carlos Corberan (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Carlos Corberan's Baggies ranks are expected to be bolstered by the return of attacking duo John Swift and Josh Maja when Championship action resumes following the latest pause. The versatile Adam Reach is also forecast to make a comeback.

And with fellow striker Daryl Dike due back from a long-term Achilles injury at the end of December, left-back Townsend is confident Albion can build on a first 16 games of the season that has Corberan's men seventh and only outside the play-off positions on goal difference.

Asked about his side's position in the table, Townsend replied: "No (it's not a bad one to be in) – and we've had a lot of injuries as well. The squad at one point was threadbare.

"We've still got Swifty to come back, Josh Maja, Daryl Dike, Reachy as well, people to come back, they're going to be nearly ready come Ipswich or the week after.

"For them coming back is massive for us, it gives the squad a boost. We believe in what we've got in the dressing room, the manager and what he wants us to do.

"We've seen lots of good things this season, things to improve on, we're OK where we are and hopefully we can go on another run."

Swift remains Albion top scorer despite having to miss the best part of two months by the time he returns from a calf issue. Striker Maja, the free transfer summer signing, has not played since the middle of September due to an ankle injury.

Reach is on the comeback trail from quad surgery and Corberan has stated he saw the former Sheffield Wednesday man's versatility as important this season.

Albion signed off the international break with a gut-wrenching 2-1 defeat at Southampton, in which Townsend was unable to close down Saints top scorer Adam Armstrong for the late winner.

But Townsend, 30, said: "One hundred per cent (we can take confidence from it), the lads are really disappointed and I think that shows how well we played.

"We're really gutted, but we're in the middle of a run, Hull are a really good team, Southampton are a really good team, we had a good win against Hull and we could've won on Saturday.

"There is positives to take and we've got to take them. I don't think there is any easy games in the Championship this year, you see the results, we know games are tough and we can turn performances like that into more goals and more wins."