Luke outlines Albion plan

ALBION today welcome Luke Dowling to The Hawthorns as the Club's new Sporting and Technical Director.

Previously Sporting Director at Watford and Nottingham Forest, Luke joins the Baggies just a few weeks short of his 40th birthday.

He has earmarked recruitment, scouting, sports science and Academy as core components of the job he will now take on.

And Luke feels he is coming to one of the birthplaces of the sporting model that he will now head up.

"One of the most striking things about Albion under the previous regime which featured Mark [Jenkins] prominently was the way in which the Club went about competing in the Premier League," said Luke.

"At that time, outside the top four you had to come up with a different way of meeting the challenge and within football, everyone looked at the Albion model and realised that was the way to go.

"Since then I've worked at a couple of clubs with Michael Appleton who gave me a greater insight as to how Albion were run and how they used to compete so successfully and now the challenge is to get back to that.

"It's an exciting opportunity and I'm delighted to be here."

Luke's CV, following a largely semi-professional playing career cut short by injury, includes a stand-out period at Watford where he played a prominent role in the club's promotion to the Premier League and subsequent stabilisation in the top flight.

Before that, the paths of Luke and Head Coach Darren Moore crossed briefly at Blackburn but a strong enough bond was established to pick up the threads at Albion in 2018.

He falls in alongside Darren's quest to give Albion's playing style a new identity.

He explained: "I think there is a great squad here under the charge of a great manager, a great guy.

"The way Darren handles himself, the way he conducts himself is admired throughout the game.

"We had a very short period working together six or seven years ago at Blackburn but the club I take most from in my own career would be Watford.

"Like Albion, they followed that path of building, building, and not throwing stupid money at it. That's how it used to be be at Albion and will be going forward. We are looking to build."

Luke will waste no time getting down to working with the current scouting and recruitment team knowing that January's transfer window will be here quick enough and Albion need to be ready to recruit if necessary.

"I want to give as much support as I can to the staff already here and make recommendations where I feel I can help," he added.

"I know if we feel there is something that we need to help build the Club, the CEO and the board will do everything they can to deliver it.

"I think Albion have already had a successful window. Normally that is judged by the signings you make alone but in Albion's case, I think it was also about the players we kept.

"To have players such as Rodriguez, Livermore, Gibbs, Hegazi, Dawson and Phillips to name a few still here was a statement of intent.

"And in the business the Club completed, if you are losing a keeper of the quality of Ben Foster, you can't do much better than bring in Sam Johnstone as his replacement - he's going to be a very, very top 'keeper in time.

"If you are going to lose Salomon Rondon, then you can't do much better than replace him with a player every club in this division would probably have picked for their striker.

"We have to make sure any players coming in have the ability to play how Darren want them to play and make them improve the XI."

Luke acknowledges that different styles bring different recruitment targets with Albion undergoing a marked change of emphasis in this Championship campaign.

He added: "Darren has now got a group of players he wants to play a certain way, in a completely different way to what had come before. There's no right or wrong with this and I'm certainly not going to criticise as successful a manager as Tony Pulis, who did a wonderful job for this club.

"But the players are good enough to deliver what Darren wants and gain promotion. Let's face it, there are a lot of players here who believe they are Premier League quality and rightly so. They want to get back there as quickly as possible.

"He wants them to play on the front foot and attack teams and they are good enough to do that.

"I was at Forest for the game earlier this season and that night 'we' played extremely well and Albion didn't play their best. But Forest still didn't win and if we're all honest, Albion could really have won the game in the end."

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