Ismaël on QPR test and Daryl Dike progress

Ismaël pre-QPR

Valérien Ismaël wants to see “togetherness” on display within his squad once more on Saturday as they head to London for a key clash against promotion rivals QPR.

The Baggies sit one point and one place above this weekend’s opponents, but Ismaël’s men have played an extra game than fifth-placed Rangers.

Albion will be without the suspended trio of Sam Johnstone, Cedric Kipre and Alex Mowatt at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, while Semi Ajayi is in Cameroon with Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations.

But the manager was keen to stress how well his team have performed in previous matches this season when several players have been absent, and Val wants the Baggies to show another “positive reaction” in the capital. 

Ismaël pre-Reading

He said: “The second half of the season is here and it’s important to start winning games with consistency once again.

“QPR are a strong team who have had a really good first half of the campaign. They have got some really good players and have won some really important games already this year.

“They are up towards the top end of the table, just like us, and we know that it’ll be difficult on Saturday.

“We’re in a situation where we are having to manage a squad which has injuries and suspensions, as well as the continued risk of COVID.

“We have to make sure we manage it correctly and take the next step in a positive way which would be winning at QPR.

“It’s a tough away game, but we are prepared and we know how difficult the Championship is. We have to show the right mentality to get the three points. 

“It’s clear we have suspensions and the main problem is having to manage things game-by-game and swapping the team around.

“It will be good when we can play with our strongest XI every time and to create the on-pitch relationships.

“At the minute, we are not able to do that. 

“We have tried to find solutions to these issues in other games and I think we’ve shown a positive reaction. “We’ve also shown a togetherness.

“Our purpose is to make sure we get every player back available as soon as possible to give us the best chance to be as strong as possible.”

Val pre-BHA

New signing Daryl Dike has been working tirelessly on his fitness since arriving at The Hawthorns from MLS outfit Orlando City on New Year’s Day.

The boss says it’s important to manage him to ensure he is able to give “100 per cent” on the pitch.

“Daryl knows our principles and the way we want to play.

“The main thing for him is getting him up to full fitness.

“I was with him last season and he knew exactly what was expected of him after the first day, so we don’t need to spend a lot of time with him on the way we want to play.

“He will get his match fitness in games, but for now we need very tight communication between us, the medical staff and Daryl himself to know exactly where his fitness is at.

“We want to put him a great position to be able to give 100 per cent. When is he able to give 100 per cent, we will see the best of Daryl Dike.

“He’s looked sharp and every day he is getting better.

“He’s only been training for two weeks after what was a four-week break for him.

“His fitness is improving every day.

“It’s my job to manage him and see how long he can play in the games and how he can help us.”

  • Ismaël