Assistant boss ready for big summer
DAVID Kemp, the man who knows Tony Pulis best, is predicting a busy summer of player trading as the Head Coach plots next season’s team.
The Baggies tackle their final two games of the campaign having secured a sixth successive season in the Premier League.
That’s the first part of Mission Albion achieved for Pulis, who arrived at the club at the turn of the year charged with the immediate task of securing Premier League football.
His long-time assistant ‘Kempy’ sat down with local media this week to begin setting the scene for the summer – and with the transfer speculation mill already churning out plenty of names, he made it clear that another busy close season approached.
“The club are going to have to be active, there’s no doubt about that,” said the assistant Head Coach.
“We have already started work. I’ve just been to a game abroad as has the manager.
“We do the leg-work all season but we’re now focusing in on targets and it’s started.
“That doesn’t mean players are going to start working through doors but we’ve started the work.
“We have narrowed down what was a great big list, and we know the names we’re focusing in on.”
Albion have taken 24 points from the 17 games which began when Pulis and Kemp turned up at West Ham on January 1 as a prelude to their taking full charge for the FA Cup tie against Gateshead.
He says they would have liked to have done more business in January but time was against them – but was full of praise for the players who have fought their way to the safety line.
“They have been magnificent – absolutely full credit to them,” he added.
“When we came in there was a small group of players and we had a transfer window.
“We were trying to assess things and see what was available but it was difficult.
“We managed to bring in two very good players in Fletcher and McManaman but Callum has had a limited amount of games because he came here injured and we’ve been trying to get him fit and up to speed.
“He will be an excellent player for the club and Fletcher has been a major influence. We brought in two players when we probably needed more.
“If we’d come in in November we would have had time to assess things so when the window opened we were ready to go in January 1.
“We were behind the game a bit but hopefully now we’re in a position where we’re stable, we know where we are next season and we have the summer to bring in players we think can help make this group better.”