GRAHAM Dorrans has been tipped for a big season – if he can stay on the goal trail.
That’s the verdict of joint-assistant head coach Kevin Keen, who was delighted to see the Scotland international open the scoring with a 25-yard rocket in today’s 2-0 win at Derby.
Dorrans became a regular for the Baggies during the second half of last season but only hit the net once – a penalty in March’s 3-1 defeat at West Ham.
It was a far cry from the club’s promotion success of 2009/10, when he top scored with 18 goals from midfield.
However, Dorrans has been back among the goals in pre-season, with today’s wonder strike coming on the back of a penalty in Monday’s 3-0 success against Hungarian outfit Puskas FC Academy.
And Keen wants to see the former Livingston ace both create and score goals more regularly.
“Since Christmas, Graham’s played a lot of games for us,” he said.
“Perhaps he didn’t get the goal return he would have hoped for.
“But, like Markus [Rosenberg] in training, his finishing is absolutely top draw.
“Maybe the goal today will give him a little bit of impetus.
“After Christmas, he had a big role in the squad and the way we played. He put in some good performances.
“Can he go a little bit further and do a little bit more? I think he can – certainly in terms of scoring and creating goals.
“In terms of his work-rate and working for the team, he was tremendous last season.
“But if he can score and create a few goals, I think next season could be a big season for Graham.
“From my point of view, he’s a fantastic professional. Every day I see the quality he’s got.
“I don’t want Graham to go anywhere. I want him to score goals like he did today for West Brom.”
Another player who struggled for goals last season, Markus Rosenberg, was also on the scoresheet today, coming off the bench to bag Albion’s second in the 90th minute.
If the behind-closed-doors training match against Tamworth is included, Rosenberg has netted three times in four pre-season games.
And Keen has highlighted the Swedish international’s mental toughness as a key factor in his promising form.
“Everyone in the dressing room, and the staff, knows what a super professional and good player Markus was last year – and will be this year,” added Keen.
“It didn’t quite happen for him last year for certain reasons. Shane and Rom hit it off straight away and shared most of the forward duties.
“When Markus went into the team it was difficult for him to make an impact.
“But we’ve seen the quality he’s got every day in training. His finishing is phenomenal.
“Everyone in the dressing room sincerely hopes he gets games this year and, if that happens, we’re sure he will score goals.
“There would have been times last season when it was tough for him.
“But I think he’s such a good professional, and mentally so strong, that he’s just carried on.
“He’ll keep trying and giving his best and I think the supporters appreciate that.
“The reception they give him all the time is fantastic.
“Everyone in that dressing room wishes he has a good season and scores goals for the club.”