As former West Brom boss Darren Moore lands himself a new job in the Championship this week, many at the Midlands outfit still have a lot to thank him for.
After all, he was the man to bring the relatively unknown Conor Townsend to the Hawthorns, a left-back who has quickly emerged as one of Albion’s strongest players.
The 27-year-old joined from Scunthorpe United for an undisclosed fee in the summer of 2018 and speaking about the move, Moore told the official website (via HullLive): “This is another good acquisition for us.”
It’s taken him a while to make such an impact, having been sat behind former England international Kieran Gibbs since then, though the tides are turning and he’s now the no.1 option in the role.
So much so that the club has extended his deal until June 2024, so clearly sporting director Luke Dowling and co see him as part of their long-term future, irrespective of the division they find themselves in next term.
And that’s a testament to Moore for taking the gamble on him despite never playing higher than League One in his career prior to the move.
Townsend played 27 times on the Baggies’ way to promotion last season, and while injuries have hampered his time in the Premier League, he’s still started 13 matches, via Transfermarkt.
In terms of average WhoScored rating for the season so far, he ranks sixth in this West Brom squad (6.71), which is pretty respectable considering it is the first time he’s played at this level in his career, and is higher than seasoned pros such as Robert Snodgrass (6.63), Gibbs (6.29), Branislav Ivanovic (6.24) and Jake Livermore (6.19).
The £15k-per-week gem has been pretty reliable defensively and has impressed with his solid work rate, averaging 1.6 tackles per 90 minutes at a success rate of just over 61.5%, which means more often than not, he’s stopping the opposition winger.
This is something backed up by his former Grimsby boss Paul Hurst, who told The Athletic: “He did really well for us in general. He was better at one-versus-one defending. Positionally he was better.”
“Intelligent,” “dynamic” and “popular” were just three other words used to describe him by Graham Alexander, too.
Perhaps it could even be argued that the 27-year-old gem has been an underrated member of this Albion squad with the likes of Matheus Pereira, Conor Gallagher and Kyle Bartley often taking the plaudits.
But you cannot forget about Townsend and it is thanks to the new Sheffield Wednesday boss that the Midlands outfit have him for the foreseeable future.
Sacked unfairly, but the left-back must be regarded as Moore’s finest parting gift at the Hawthorns.