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Champion League

West Brom; Bruce must axe Johnstone



Steve Bruce must axe goalkeeper Sam Johnstone for the remainder of the season in order to prepare for life without him after the summer.

The former Premier League champion has had a “successful” career at the Baggies in the words of reporter Steve Madeley, but it looks like it could be about to come to an end with his contract set to expire in the summer.

When speaking to the Athletic, manager Steve Bruce said “the likelihood is that Sam is going to leave.”

The shot-stopper is poised to join a club in the Premier League in the hopes of gaining a place in the England squad at this winter’s World Cup in Qatar.

West Brom will now be looking at replacements for Johnstone but their campaign as good as done, they should consider axing the ‘keeper from their starting line-up now to best prepare for life without him.

Do you want Johnstone to stay at West Brom?

His record this season is pretty good having kept 15 clean sheets overall in the Championship which is just three short of the league’s best which is held by central defender John Egan.

The 29-year old still has some of his best years left and has played over 15,000 minutes for West Brom. His overall record is impressive with 45 clean sheets in 167 appearances.

He has even been described as the “best English goalkeeper” by Jason Cundy.

So why drop him? Well, the Baggies have little to play for this season, their slim hopes of achieving a play-off spot were virtually ended with a 1-0 defeat to rivals Birmingham City the other week.

The remaining games they have would provide a great chance to give one of their other goalkeepers valuable experience in the league and would provide the coaching staff with a good idea of whether or not they could replace Johnstone.

Alex Palmer is the youngest of the three stoppers the club have available to them and has come through the academy having spent various spells on loan.

One of his most recent loan spells last year at League One outfit Lincoln City saw him make 46 appearances and keep 19 clean sheets in the division.

When you compare his performance last season to Johnstone’s, he has a better save percentage at 72.7 compared to 70.6.

Now would be the perfect opportunity to give him a more regular chance at Championship level and it could pay off for Bruce.

IN other news: West Brom: Grady Diangana struggled in defeat to Stoke City…