New West Brom manager Sam Allardyce has admitted the January transfer window will be important to the club’s hopes of survival.
The 66-year-old has been tasked with the job of keeping the Baggies in the Premier League and signed a contract until the end of the 2021-22 season.
Allardyce replaced Slaven Bilic, who was sacked after West Brom secured only one victory from their opening 13 games to leave them two points from safety.
Speaking to talkSPORT on Thursday morning, the new man in the hotseat at the Hawthorns said: “They (the board) are prepared to get some players, but we need to find where those players are and who wants to let a player go in this pandemic.
“I can’t suggest at this moment how many players we need.
“By the time I had finished four weeks and no wins in six games at Crystal Palace, I knew exactly what we needed to do and pushed Steve (Parish) beyond the brink of really where he wanted to go which paid off in the end.
“It will be a very important part I think and while the players here are trying their very best and had a fantastic gutsy performance at Manchester City, which I watched live on the TV, it is always good when a player sees a new player come in.
“And then sees that player on the training ground who will make them better. The difficulty is finding that player and we will have to do our best to do that.”
This is Allardyce’s first role since he left Everton after he guided them to an eighth-place finish in the 2017-18 campaign after they were embroiled in a relegation battle when he had replaced Marco Silva six months earlier.
After keeping up Sunderland and Crystal Palace in similar circumstances, the one-time England national team boss expressed sympathy for predecessor Bilic, who replaced him at West Ham in 2015.
“You always look at the job and say how difficult will it be and have you got an opportunity to try and turn it around and use your experience, which I have done on many occasions over the last few years and I only hope I can have the same influence at West Brom, with no guarantee of course, that I have had at many other clubs,” Allardyce added.
“All of a sudden you have gone 13 games with only one win and unfortunately for Slaven that is what has cost (him) and made West Brom think they need to make a change.
“I know Slaven and he is a great guy, but it is what it is when the board make a decision and I am here to try and save West Brom and keep them in the division for next season. If I can do that it would be great.”
Bilic has expressed his sadness at leaving West Brom but wished his old club all the best in their battle for Premier League survival.
Club statement: Slaven Bilić.— West Bromwich Albion (@WBA) December 16, 2020
The Croatian was dismissed by the Baggies on Wednesday, with his last game in charge a creditable 1-1 draw at Manchester City on Tuesday.
During his year-and-a-half spell at the Hawthorns, the 52-year-old led the club back to the top flight with automatic promotion last season, but seven points out of a possible 39 this term has proved his undoing.
“I am hugely disappointed to have left West Bromwich Albion,” Bilic said in a statement to the Daily Mail.
“I am honoured to have managed this unique football club with full commitment and integrity. I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to all the players, my hard-working coaching team and our dedicated staff.
“I am incredibly proud that we secured automatic promotion from the Championship in our first season. It was a real shame to not have our loyal supporters there with us during that moment and upon our return to the Premier League.
“In what has been a really difficult year for so many, those special fans have stood alongside us throughout it all.
“My staff and I are grateful for having had the privilege to serve them. They would have enjoyed some of our excellent performances where the team showed how much they wanted us to succeed.
“Ultimately, I am sad that it hasn’t worked out in the way we wanted. But I leave with my head held high, along with some wonderful memories that I will always cherish.
“I’m sorry that I cannot say goodbye to you all properly at The Hawthorns. I genuinely wish the club well for the future.”
West Brom are second from bottom and two points from safety, with new boss Allardyce due to face the media later on Thursday afternoon.
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