West Brom update as Matt Bickley quits to join Stoke City
West Brom head of first team sports science and strength and conditioning Matt Bickley has quit the Baggies to join Stoke City, according to Training Ground Guru.
The website reported on Tuesday (14 November) that Bickley who has been part of Albion’s set-up since 2015 is set to depart The Hawthorns to join Championship rivals Stoke as their new head of sports science, ending a near nine-year stay in the Midlands.
Stoke haven’t had a head of sports science since Paul Walsh departed the club just before the beginning of the Potters’ pre-season after three years with the side, with him now taking up the same role with Ireland Under-21s.
This news has likely come as a surprise given just how long Bickley has been part of the furniture at West Brom and it could be a blow for the Baggies, given the crucial role sports scientists and strength and conditioning coaches play in the modern game.
To lose Bickley to a Championship rival is a shame as well, not only do Albion feel the effect of losing a crucial member of staff behind the scenes, but another team competing with them in the Championship gets the boost of his services.
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What will be interesting is how this changes the Baggies this season. A new head of strength and conditioning and sports science could well change the way in which West Brom trains and prepares for games and could impact the number of injuries experienced in the future.
Carlos Corberan’s side have been ravaged by injuries at times this season, with the likes of Daryl Dike, John Swift and Josh Maja all sidelined for periods of the campaign. While that is not the fault of Bickley, a change of training method behind the scenes could impact the fitness of the team.
West Brom fans will just have to wait and see how this change impacts the side over the coming weeks and months of the campaign. It’s hard to judge just how big a blow this could be or what sort of effect it will have on Albion.