When Valerien Ismael took over at West Bromwich Albion earlier this summer, the Frenchman surely could not have predicted just how well his side would be performing having only worked under him for a matter of weeks.
However, after scoring 11 goals, picking up three wins – including a 4-0 demolition of one of the pre-season promotion favourites Sheffield United – and one draw in their opening four league fixtures of the season, the 45-year-old finds his team in second place in the Championship table, behind only Fulham on goal difference.
As such, while the Carabao Cup is not likely to be a priority for Ismael during a season in which the club are pushing for automatic promotion, Albion will nevertheless head into tonight’s tie against Arsenal full of confidence.
While the Baggies squad is by no means the biggest in the division, the fixture could well provide the Frenchman with an opportunity to take a look at some of his fringe players, one of whom could well be Quevin Castro.
Indeed, Ismael has praised the 20-year-old midfielder following his recovery from a shoulder injury, revealing that the Portuguese youngster has shown his “quality” in training, demonstrating both his technical ability as well as desirable levels of aggression.
As such, it would appear a wise move for the West Brom manager to select the youngster in his starting XI against the Gunners, as it seems that Castro has the potential to play a key role in the middle of the park this season, particularly following the recent loan departure of Romaine Sawyers – all he needs is a chance.
Furthermore, the fact that the 6 foot 4 youngster has previously spent time in the Arsenal youth setup is sure to give the 20-year-old extra incentive to impress in the fixture. If Ismael is to be believed, it would indeed appear as if the attack-minded midfielder has the ability to terrify a particularly shaky Gunners backline on Wednesday night.