Express & Star

West Brom working to tie down important starlet

Albion are in contract renewal talks with academy graduate Tom Fellows, confirmed boss Carlos Corberan.

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The 20-year-old is enjoying a breakthrough campaign with the club he joined at under-10s and shone in a first league start of the season at Swansea on New Year’s Day.

Winger Fellows is set to start in the FA Cup third round home tie against Aldershot Town tomorrow. His first professional deal, signed in 2021, runs out this summer and there has been noise of admiring glances from Championship rivals Leicester and Southampton, as well as from Germany.

But Corberan insisted the club are working to tie down the graduate’s future. He said: “I know that the club is working in this aspect – with some of the players, especially now individually I can tell you with Tom Fellows, because the club is of course focused on this.

“We are going to make our best to extend our possibilities with the player and to keep working with players like him.”

Fellows is one of several members of Corberan’s first-team squad whose Hawthorns terms expire in the summer.

The winger has taken advantage of several attacking injuries in Albion ranks and grasped his first-team opportunity this term.

“Without any type of doubt,” Corberan agreed. “Football is about the present and it means the next game we have, Sunday in the cup, we will see how the players arrive and then the answer arrives in the games, game-by-game you watch the level, how they develop and how much you believe and can give to them what they deserve to have.”

After shining as his side’s star man in an otherwise disappointing defeat in south Wales, Fellows has now been challenged to repeat the performance level as game time continues to come his way, starting against tomorrow’s non-league visitors.

“Now it’s a challenge for him to keep showing he is a possibility. Sometimes (to) do something once is more easy than to do something more in a row,” added the Spaniard.

“Now that’s the challenge – this is how you make a career. The players that make a career were using their opportunities in a row, in a row, in a row, in a row, in a row, that’s how you make a career. I am very pleased with the level he’s growing.

“He’s growing as a training player, he’s been growing as a bench player and the other day he gave an important step.”

Corberan, meanwhile, confirmed striker Daryl Dike is set to end a nine-month injury absence due to a ruptured Achilles with a start and 45 minutes against the Shots tomorrow.