Roger Francis, lifelong West Bromwich Albion fan, speaks to Tim Holland about sneaking into Europe, Lukaku’s future and Odemwingie’s transfer fandango

How do you rate West Brom’s season?

How do you rate West Brom’s season?

I think it’s been unexpectedly good and I’ve been a very happy Baggie for the majority. We’ve gone off the boil a bit since Christmas but that was always to be expected. The win at Chelsea was a particular favourite of my season closely followed the Liverpool and Everton matches.

The fans must be delighted with Steve Clarke?

I think most fans are in fairness. What is there to complain about? Perhaps we would’ve liked longer cup runs but apart from that I’ve had nothing to complain about. Some fans questioned the appointment citing his lack of experience but he’s proven everyone wrong in the best way possible.

Are you now realistically looking at European football?

I don’t think so, I think that ship might have sailed. For me it’s been great to be in the top half of the table all season but if we could sneak ahead of the Merseyside clubs and into Europe that would be a bonus!

You didn’t sign anyone in January. Was that frustrating for the fans?

I think it was a sensible thing to do. At that stage our injuries weren’t too bad and I think we thought ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. For me, the panic buying and inflated prices make it unviable for clubs and it was good to see the club not enter the market unnecessarily. We now need to ensure that we tie down contracts for the likes of Chris Brunt so safeguard for next season.

What did you make of Peter Odemwingie’s proposed transfer fandango in January?

I think he was foolish to do what he did and even more so for his comments since. It’s a shame because prior to this I liked him. I think there was an element of miscommunication and hands being forced but unfortunately for him it cast him a very bad light. I think he’ll move in the summer.

Ben Foster has come back into the England team following a self imposed hiatus. Do you think he can offer the national team anything?

There doesn’t seem a huge amount of options for England in terms of goalkeepers especially considering the mixed form of Joe Hart so yes I think he can offer England something if called upon – he’s had a great season.

Romelu Lukaku is your top scorer this season. Do you think he’ll remain at WBA next season?

In short, barring being transfer listed by Chelsea, no. He’s very good especially for someone so young so unless Chelsea want him to have another season on loan I think he’ll go straight into their first team– he’s much better than Torres that’s for sure!

In short, barring being transfer listed by Chelsea, no. He’s very good especially for someone so young so unless Chelsea want him to have another season on loan I think he’ll go straight into their first team– he’s much better than Torres that’s for sure!

Who should West Ham fans be wary of in the West Brom first XI when the club’s meet?

Lukaku is in great form so he can be dangerous to most defences. Odemwingie if he plays can be handful. Morrison and Brunt also add something different and can pop up with goals.

What’s been your opinion of West Ham this season?

I think you’ve done well especially considering the other promoted teams. I’ve been impressed with Jussi in goal and Joe Cole coming back has given you some creativity. On the whole you’ve done OK but I have to say I don’t like Allardyce.

Which West Ham players would you have?

Diame looks like a good midfielder and someone who would fit into our team. Jarvis looks good as well and likes to get at defender which I’d like more of in our team.

Earlier this season your prediction for both clubs was West Brom 6th and West Ham 13th. Do you think that will change?

I think it might change slightly. I think we will end up 8th now with West Ham to slip to 15th.

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