Tim Holland speaks to Roger Francis, lifelong West Bromwich Albion fan about not replacing Lukaku, keeping hold of Berahino and the team Christmas party

How do you assess West Brom’s season so far

How do you assess West Brom’s season so far?

It’s been an up and down season so far. We struggled for consistency and we’ve not won enough. Three losses in a row have really hurt us especially after a good win against Man United earlier in the season.

After last season, do you think Steve Clarke had a lot to live up to?

I think there’s always going to be a bit of hangover from the success of last season. Added to that is the fact that we lost arguably our best player when Lukaku went back to Chelsea. He was always going to be difficult to replace and in fairness I don’t think we have.

Last season you mentioned that European football might be on the cards? What are your expectations for this season?

I think mid-table security and a decent FA cup run would be good enough for me. Anything else would be a bonus.

Saido Berahino has surprised everyone this season. How good is he and do you think you’ll be able to keep hold of him?

I honestly think he’s one of the best young players we’ve ever had at the club. The problem is how we keep him at the club. The league is littered with Rodwell’s and Sinclair’s – players who moved big too young. I think we keep him by playing him simple as that.

How have you rated your summer signings?

I was pleased with all the signings on paper. Anelka is a quality striker, Sessegnon improves the team, Anichebe s expensive but again talented, Vydra is young and is highly rated. Unfortunately it hasn’t quite worked out so far for them. Perhaps we signed too many players in the summer? Perhaps there was too much upheaval, I don’t know.

After the loss to Norwich the team went on their Christmas party to Dublin to much uproar. Where does it sit with you?

I think the press made a lot out of it and Steve Clarke has rightly defended it. In our current run of form I’m not sure the harm it will cause!

Do you think you’ll be busy in the January transfer window?

I’ve got a feeling that we won’t sign anyone in the hope we’ll avoid a relegation scrap so there’s no need. I suppose we did spend over £12m in the summer and I’m guessing Anelka’s wages has pretty high.

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

I’ve not seen much of you to be fair but from your league position it looks as though you’re struggling like us. What a difference a season makes.

Which West Ham players would you have in your squad?

Ravel Morrison has been your Berahino so probably him. Maybe Andy Carroll if he ever gets fit.

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

Berahino has been a revelation plus Shane Long has played well so far.

What’s your prediction for the match and for both clubs this season?

2-1 to us for the match and 15th for WBA, 16th for you lot

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