Vaelien Ismael pleased with West Brom squad but still wants striker

Boss Valerien Ismael is pleased with the balance of his squad heading into the season opener at Bournemouth – but Albion do still want to sign a striker this summer.

Valerien Ismael the head coach / manager of West Bromwich Albion (AMA)
Valerien Ismael the head coach / manager of West Bromwich Albion (AMA)

The Baggies kick-start their Championship campaign against fellow promotion hopefuls Bournemouth at Dean Court tomorrow.

Ismael has so far made four additions since his appointment as head coach with Alex Mowatt, Matt Clarke, Quevin Castro and Adam Reach having all been snapped up over the past few weeks.

The Express & Star understands the boss still wants to add a central striker to his squad, with Manchester City youngster Liam Delap someone the Baggies are keen on if he is made available for loan.

Back when he was announced as boss, Ismael said he wanted to undertake a thorough review of Albion’s first team and academy to assess the players at his disposal.

And now he has had that time he is pleased with what he has seen.

“We have assessed the team and the squad properly now,” Ismael said. “We have added some players and found the right balance.

“We have a lot of left-footers in the squad to make sure we have the right balance. And at the minute I think we can wait, there is no rush (for more additions).

“That’s due to the great performances we have had – all the players together – and because the young players have shown a great attitude and given us a good feeling.

“I think, all together, that has given us a bit more time to assess the squad in the games coming up in the Championship. We are in no rush.”

Man City striker Delap is on the radar of a host of Championship clubs. Stoke manager Michael O’Neill has confirmed he wants to sign the forward but revealed earlier this week City are yet to make a decision as to whether they will send Delap out on loan.

Meanwhile, Ismael has confirmed he signed Reach to compete with Conor Townsend at left wing-back and because the 28-year-old can also play on the wing.

“He (Reach) can play a lot of different positions,” the boss said. “In our philosophy, it’s important to find players that can play two or three positions.

“It was also important to find players with the experience you need in the Championship.

“We only had Conor Townsend on that left side so it would have been a difficult situation for us if something happened with Conor.

“With the young players, we didn’t have someone with a left foot to play that position at that level.

“So it was clear to me when we arrived that we needed to do something in that position.

“But we wanted to wait, we wanted to get the right.

“But as soon as we had a possibility of getting Adam, I knew he was the right player.

“He has all you need in that position for the way I want to play.”

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