West Bromwich Albion eased into the fourth round of the FA Cup following a 1-0 victory over Championship rivals Charlton Athletic at The Valley.
Baggies boss Slaven Bilic named an entirely new starting XI from the one that drew to Leeds United on New Year’s Day with the Croatian clearly valuing their promotion push in the league more than any other competition.
It meant the likes of Kenneth Zohore, Rekeem Harper, Chris Brunt and Jonathan Bond were all handed a rare opportunity while youngster Jack Fitzwater made his senior debut at centre-back alongside Ahmed Hegazi.
Highly-rated academy forwards Rayhaan Tulloch, Jamie Soule and Rico Richards were named on the bench.
As was Chris Willock for the very first time since joining on deadline day in a temporary switch from Benfica, although, the former Arsenal winger wasn’t able to even come off the bench to feature.
It comes as another insulting blow to his Albion career so far as the 21-year-old is yet to be handed an opportunity in the first-team despite joining the club alongside both Matheus Pereira and Grady Diangana in the summer.
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To not feature despite a vast array of changes only speaks volumes on his potential credentials at the Hawthorns, he’s done everything asked of him for the U23 squad by scoring four goals and assisting five more this season, but that clearly isn’t enough to tempt Bilic into playing him.
There has been plenty of talk in the media about Benfica cutting his loan spell short and shipping him out on loan to a rival club via the Daily Mail, which could come back to hurt the Baggies in the long-run.
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Willock not even coming off the bench against Charlton was a bizarre call from the Croatian chief and one that is ultimately damning on the attacking midfielder’s future chances.
While in other Baggies news, Bilic faces a fierce battle in the race to sign an unlikely transfer target this month…