Daryl Dike must prove that he isn't another West Brom flop by hitting the ground running
When the January transfer window opened at the start of the year, West Brom fans were super excited to see Daryl Dike walk through the door.
Valerien Ismael’s side were struggling to put the ball in the back of the net and so he brought in his trusted hitman from his previous tenure at Barnsley to try and solve that issue.
But after less than a handful of substitute appearances as he tried to get to full fitness, the United States international team striker suffered a horror hamstring injury.
Initially the 21-year-old was supposed to miss between 8-12 weeks, but after suffering a setback which required surgery he didn’t feature again as Ismael was sacked, Steve Bruce took over and the club dwindled in mid-table for the rest of the year.
But now it seems as though the club are putting all their eggs in his basket for the new season, hoping he will be fit. That means he must hit the ground running to be a success.
Andy Carroll has been released and while Karlan Grant impressed as a central striker, the vast majority of his goals from that position came from the penalty spot.
Bruce is keen to use a different system to what was forced upon him last year with the squad, which would likely see the team move towards four at the back with one up front.
The arrival of John Swift from Reading helps to add goals from midfield, but that striker role will remain a problem if Dike isn’t fit and firing early on in the campaign.
A fast and positive start to the season is needed, considering Bruce got the manager’s job for this season despite winning just six of 17 games he was in charge for.
If he doesn’t find a way to turn it around quickly then fans will lose patience and rightfully demand change to be able to salvage the season and find a way back to the Premier League. If Bruce is relying on Dike’s performances, then so are West Brom fans.
Should he fail to do the business, then it will be hard for fans to stick by him considering he cost in excess of £7m and is supposed to be the man to take them back to the promised land.
In other West Brom news, a first-team ace has ended speculation around his future by signing a new deal
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