By George Overhill

11th Jan, 2022 | 7:36pm

Valerien Ismael provides update on Sam Johnstone's West Brom future

There is still a possibility that Sam Johnstone leaves West Brom this month, admits manager Valerien Ismael.

The former Manchester United man’s contract expires at the end of the season and while the Baggies boss believes it is most likely he will remain until then he has left door open for a January exit.

With the keeper currently suspended after sending off during the heated meeting with Cardiff City, Ismael wants him to take the absence to “reflect”.

“At the minute I am pretty sure that he will stay but you never know what can happen in football if a keeper gets a big injury and a club needs to replace him you never know what the situation could be,” said the Frenchman, as quoted by The Birmingham Mail.

“We want to have all the players. Now Sam needs a break and he has his break to reflect, come back stronger and help us in the season.”

Uncertainty

The English keeper is set to miss his first league matches since the opening day of the season against Bournemouth due to his suspension,

There was speculation surrounding his future then as well after his inclusion in England’s Euro 2020 squad.

The unsettled nature of his contract situation is unlikely to be helping him this season as West Brom’s strong start to the season has gradually become more inconsistent.

Currently sitting in fourth, having played two games more than Fulham in third, fans will be hoping a strong second half to the season can see Premier League football return to the Hawthorns at the first attempt, as has become customary over recent years.

The Baggies have not won in a month and went out of the FA Cup to Brighton in extra-time at the weekend, although David Button featured in goal for that game.

A strong showing from Johnstone after he returns from suspension could be a key factor in success over the rest of the season, and a return to the top division of English football might increase the chances a new contract being agreed.

But if a keeper-needy club suddenly comes in this month, that could become a moot point.

In other West Brom news, the manager admits this player could be on the way out.