Indeed, speaking about the situation last weekend, the boss said: “We’re trying [to sign a new striker], we’re having to because the club has been unfortunate. We’ve got two big number 9s who have had a series of awful injuries which has been difficult. Especially the one to Dike.”
Having been a highly anticipated January signing, the American has only managed three appearances in an injury-ravaged spell at the Hawthorns.
However, he could have a readymade replacement for his long-term absence waiting in the wings, in 18-year-old Reyes Cleary.
Being left with only Karlan Grant as a sole striking option, Bruce called upon this youngster to deputise in their EFL Cup win over Sheffield United.
He clearly scores goals at every level, and with the two-month time frame mentioned, he would have ample time to acclimate to the top level.
This season he really seems set for the limelight, with Bruce having already spoken extremely highly of the teenage sensation.
Following his full debut against the Blades, he claimed: “He’s physical, powerful for a young boy.
“He’s still got a long way to go, don’t get me wrong, but he wants to score a goal. He’s got that mentality, it doesn’t change, you can see that as soon as he comes into the team.
“He can be very, very proud of himself, and can his family.”
Rather than Bruce fork out untold amounts for a stop gap, perhaps he need only gift this youngster a chance on the big stage to prove himself at senior level.
He has already dominated the U18s scene, offered a solid foundation in the U21s, and the only natural step up is to replace the injured Dike and battle with Grant for a starting birth.