We’re delighted to welcome former West Brom striker Kevin Phillips as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at The Hawthorns…
Kevin Phillips believes that Slaven Bilic would be a “brave man” to overlook Hal Robson-Kanu when deciding on West Brom’s starting line-up to take on Chelsea at The Hawthorns on Saturday.
Robson-Kanu, 31, has failed to start Albion’s two Premier League matches so far but the Wales international has managed to bag three goals in his two Carabao Cup appearances versus Harrogate and Brentford.
On Tuesday night, the former Reading striker scored twice from the spot before he was substituted off and the Baggies were beaten by Brentford in a penalty shoot-out.
Bilic named Callum Robinson to start as the striker in defeats versus Leicester and Everton and now Phillips has called on the West Brom boss to show faith in Robson-Kanu when Chelsea arrive in the Black Country this weekend.
“He’s got to do something,” Phillips told West Brom News when discussing Bilic’s team selection. “He’s not daft. He knows he needs a result.
“They can’t afford to lose another football match. I’ve been there in the Premier League, losing your first four or five games and confidence is rock bottom and it becomes very difficult.
“You need to try and do something. Of course, some managers are very stubborn – I will probably put Bielsa in that category.
“But you’ve got to try something and if you’ve got a striker who’s coming off the back of scoring two goals and you’re struggling to score this season, you’re a brave man not to put that person in.
“I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t start the match.”
Robson-Kanu is hardly a prolific striker at Premier League level having scored 12 times in his 76 top-flight appearances.
However, the Welshman is the most in-form striker that the Baggies have at the moment and it could be worth him starting against Chelsea due to his hold-up play and ability to do provide the odd flash of brilliance.
But if Robson-Kanu does start this weekend, it is just another example of why Bilic so desperately needs a new striker adding to his squad.
In other West Brom news, Albion are keen to sign this 22-year-old international forward.