, West Brom man says loan star’s early departure may have damaged automatic promotion hopes

West Brom man says loan star’s early departure may have damaged automatic promotion hopes

West Brom midfielder Chris Brunt has said that the departure of Harvey Barnes in January may have damaged the club’s hopes of winning automatic promotion.

West Brom brought winger Harvey Barnes to the Hawthorns on loan for the 2018/19 Championship season in the summer transfer window of 2018, after a successful loan spell with Barnsley.

Barnes had an electric first half of the season, scoring nine goals and providing seven assists in 28 games for the Baggies. His strong form warranted a recall from his parent club Leicester City, who have been utilising the winger in their first-team plans since his return to the King Power Stadium.

Upon Barnes’ departure, West Brom slipped out of the chase for automatic promotion but remained in a strong play-off position. However, they were defeated by local rivals Aston Villa in the play-offs, succumbing them to a second consecutive season in the second tier.

Now, speaking to Old Baggies, West Brom stalwart Chris Brunt has looked back on how Barnes’ departure could’ve affected their hopes of automatic promotion.

“He brought a lot of stuff to the team,” Brunt said.

His game was a lot more attacking, and soon as he came we started to play his way.

“At times a lot of things he did probably papered over a few cracks if I’m totally honest, but you could get away with it because you had him in the team, you knew he had got the quality to do something.

“With the attacking quality that he has, the emphasis on defending was taken away from him and our job was to just get the ball to him so he could go and do something and for six months of the season, he did that.

“When he left it was a massive loss for us because I think he scored ten goals and created countless others in half a season. If you sit down and look back, that might have been the difference in us losing out in the play-offs and getting promoted automatically.”

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