In an exclusive interview with Football FanCast, former Premier League striker Dean Windass has backed West Brom centre-back Kyle Bartley to become a focal point for Sam Allardyce’s Premier League survival bid.
The 66-year-old dubbed the ‘firefighter’ has an almighty task on his hands if he’s to steer this sinking Baggies ship to the shore.
He was appointed last week on an 18-month contract and was dealt a cruel lesson at the weekend as Albion were defeated in his first game in charge, losing 3-0 to arch-rivals Aston Villa.
And the upcoming test of defending champions Liverpool is by no means any easier.
Big Sam replaced Slaven Bilic after the Croatian managed to pick up just seven points from their opening 13 matches, though Windass believes the 29-year-old defender could hold the keys to any immediate transformation…
He told FFC:
“Yeah, [he is] a big centre-half – [he will] head it and kick it, as Sam would say.
“That’s what Sam did when he played, head it and kick it.
“I think that’s how Sam builds his teams. I know Phil Brown really well, who has been under Sam [before] and that’s where he basis his teams.
“Defend first, then try and win the game next.”
The former Leeds United colossus is currently on the sideline through a calf injury but is expected back before the New Year.
Bartley had started eight of a possible 11 matches, keeping a clean sheet on just one occasion, before this latest setback.
He was also a regular for the Baggies during their promotion campaign last term, playing a total of 38 times in the Championship.
Big Sam utilised a central defensive partnership of youngster Dara O’Shea and Semi Ajayi for the Villa thrashing – a defeat that condemned them to the second-worst in the Premier League for goals conceded.
AND in other news, Exclusive: Big Sam tipped to sign £50k-per-week TITAN in January…