Express & Star

Former West Brom boss makes Taylor Gardner-Hickman statement and backs Tom Fellows to shine

When Taylor Gardner-Hickman made a loan switch to Bristol City - many Albion fans were critical of the club's decision to let one of their brightest young talents go.


The academy graduate, who had broken into the first team under Valerien Ismael had at times looked like he could have a future as a regular fixture in West Brom's side.

But with the financial constraints and the need to move players on, it was decided the youngster would be allowed to move to Ashton Gate.

So far he has played 15 times for the Robins and scored a stunning opener in their recent 3-2 win over Middlesbrough.

However, with an option to buy in favour of City, it is questionable whether the midfielder turned right back could play for Albion again.

The decision to let Gardner-Hickman go still surprises fans now - and it has been questioned by one of his former managers.

Gardner-Hickman was given his senior and league debut under Ismael - before going on to play 19 times for Albion under Steve Bruce.

In 19 of those games Gardner-Hickman was a starter, both at right back and in centre midfield.

And speaking to Ladbrokes Fanzone, former Baggies boss Bruce admits he is still surprised at the club letting the youngster go.

He said: "I thought Taylor [Gardner-Hickman] was going to be the one who'd burst onto the scene for the club and play an important role in the first-team, I really did.

"But he's gone to Bristol City now... when I was there, he was the one I thought had all the ingredients supporters love in a player, particularly a young lad.

"He's got that determination, so I would've thought he'd have been the one we were all talking about."

The Albion academy graduate who is stealing the headlines currently is winger Tom Fellows.

The 20-year-old, who spent last season on loan at Crawley Town, has impressed with a number of cameo appearances this season for Carlos Corberan's side.

Some believe the youngster is pushing for a start and he has been given the backing of former Albion boss Bruce, who selected Fellows for two cup ties during his time at The Hawthorns.

He added: "Tom Fellows is another one with so much ability and potential. We haven't really seen much of him yet, but maybe that'll come between now and the end of the season.

"But, yeah, I really thought things were going to work out for Taylor and the club, more than they have up to this point."