Grady Diangana is back in full training following almost three months on the sidelines due to injury, and his return could be a vital boost in the promotion run-in.
The loanee last started for the Baggies in the 3-2 away win against Birmingham, and since then results and the performances of certain players have tailed off somewhat.
Slaven Bilic has been able to maintain the team’s place in the automatic promotion places and was fortunate to sign Callum Robinson to cover for Diangana, with the winger scoring two goals and making one assist in eight appearances.
Diangana had been ruled out with a hamstring injury as well as a problem with his back, so Bilic and the medical team must ensure he is full fit and ready to come back into action, as it would be a blow to lose the 21-year-old in the same manner as they did when he momentarily re-appeared in January.
As mentioned, West Brom’s results have declined since December, winning just five of their 15 league matches in Diangana’s absence, which put their chances of winning automatic promotion under doubt at one point.
They are six points clear in second place but also without a win in three games, and therefore the re-introduction of a lively and quality player like Diangana should act as a huge boost, even for the fans who adore him.
He is capable of scoring goals and producing chances for himself. Five goals and 2.3 dribbles per game indicate that much is true, but the wider benefit he brings to the team and other players in the squad should not be overlooked.
The winger is always a spark of energy and has a direct style that pushes opponents on the backfoot, making space more abundant in the penalty box for strikers.
That has been advantageous for the likes of Charlie Austin and Hal Robson-Kanu, both of whom have struggled a little bit in Diangana’s absence.
Austin had scored in five consecutive matches prior to the youngster’s injury and has scored just one goal in his ten appearances since, while Robson-Kanu has found the target on four occasions in 15 games.
That suggests Diangana can make a big impact on his return by adding a different type of attacking outlet, providing the Baggies with multiple dangerous methods to score.
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