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Bagg to the future

Chris Kamara - Chris Kamara Posted 19th March 2008 view comments

When a team goes up from the Championship to the Premier League they often need a huge makeover to survive. That would not be the case with West Brom.

Tony Mowbray has already got plenty of players in his team that could comfortably cope with playing in the top flight and I'd say he would only need to add three or four more to turn the Baggies into a Premier League squad.

West Brom: in the swing

West Brom: in the swing

There's already plenty of quality at The Hawthorns. You look at players like Ishmael Miller, Kevin Phillips, Zoltan Gera and Jonathan Greening and you think they'd have a good chance of surviving if they can add a few more bodies.

These are quality players who are comfortable on the ball and they're also entertaining to watch.

I look at the bottom of the Premier League and I think some of those teams are not that much better than the sides near the top of the Championship. It's the first time in a while I've been able to say that.

This whole situation baffles me. If Cardiff win the FA Cup, they deserve to be in the UEFA Cup, it's as simple as that.

Chris Kamara
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There is a pack of seven or eight clubs in the Premier League who are struggling to break away from the bottom and the likes of West Brom would be able to compete with those teams. I don't think you can say whoever goes up from the Championship will necessarily come straight back down next season.

Now it's just a matter of getting there.

People ask me why West Brom aren't running away with the Championship when they've got so many good players.

The answer is not rocket science - it's because they play an open and expansive game and they always give other sides a chance.

Their biggest failing this season is that they haven't been able to close games off. They never go into a match hoping to win 1-0 - they believe they've got the players to win any game and sometimes they leave themselves exposed.

Furthermore, because everybody says they're the best footballing team in the division all the other teams raise their game to try to beat them.

We saw that at the weekend when they lost 4-1 at home to Leicester, a team who were in the relegation zone at kick-off. Once Luke Moore was sent off, Albion were in trouble against a side who were desperate for points.


We have now reached that point of the season where the teams near the top of the table have the Premier League in their sights and their hearts start racing quicker every time they step onto the pitch.

Players start making mistakes instead of playing as fluently as they normally do and the nerves start setting in; we'll see that from now until the end of the season.

When I was at Leeds, Howard Wilkinson was absolutely brilliant at taking that pressure off the players and making them believe in themselves. Keeping your players relaxed at this stage is an art and that is something the likes of Mowbray will need to do over the next few weeks.

The senior players get over it quickly and the young players in their first season have too much enthusiasm to be affected by nerves. It's that middle band of players who tend to worry that this might be their chance to play at the top level - and that's where the anxiety sets in.

We have the chance to see West Brom live on Sky Sports against Charlton on Good Friday. That will be a massive game against a side who've suffered three defeats on the bounce.

Charlton's performances have been really poor in recent matches. I went to watch them against Preston and Alan Pardew was supposed to be a guest on Goals on Sunday the following day.

I told him we'd find somebody else instead because I know how it feels to see your players performing so badly; the last thing he needed was to be on a television programme the morning after.

He was appreciative of that and I expect he probably wanted his players to come in for extra training on the Sunday morning. He didn't see a response against Burnley or Ipswich, so now he'll be demanding a big performance against West Brom.

In front of the cameras and a big crowd at The Valley I'm sure he'll get that and it should add to what will be a cracking game.

Do you have a question for Kammy? Let us know what you think by using the feedback form below and continue to email him here

Kammy answers your questions...

Hi Chris. My name is Andrew, a Cardiff City fan living in the US. I was wondering what your view is on Cardiff playing in Europe if they happen to win the FA Cup? Do you think a Welsh team playing in the English league should be put forward if they lift an English trophy or should they be overlooked for a massive achievement because they are not English? I would be interested to hear your view. Andrew, Provo, Utah.

KAMMY SAYS: My view is if they are playing in the English league then they should come under the English rules, it's as simple as that. I don't understand what the problem is.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was sent-off against Colchester, but he has to appeal to the Football Association of Wales, which is nonsense. If one of his opponents had been sent-off then they would go to the English FA - it just doesn't make sense to me.

If Cardiff went up to the top-flight and Hasselbaink got sent-off then there's no way he would have to appeal to the FAW. The Premier League wouldn't listen to the FAW - they want to look after what happens in their own league. Why doesn't the Football League work in the same way?

This whole situation baffles me. If Cardiff win the FA Cup, they deserve to be in the Uefa Cup, it's as simple as that.

Hi Kammy, I was just wondering what your thoughts are about Plymouth's chances of promotion. As an Argyle fan my opinion may be slightly biased, but I seriously believe we will be the dark horse of the league this year. It's been a strange season for us. After Ollie left we were all down, but then Luggy came home and we all had our hopes back. Then in January we had a torrid time with all our best players leaving, however shrewd buys from Luggy and we are optimistic again and with seven games left, we still have a chance. Can you see Plymouth hosting teams such as Manchester United and Liverpool? They won't know what's hit them will they? Jak Ball.

KAMMY SAYS: They certainly won't know what's hit them Jak. That part of the country deserves Premier League football and the support they've got would welcome it. Plymouth have a wide catchment area and they aren't one of those clubs that would be embarrassed by low attendances if they got to the Premier League. The fanbase down there is very big and very passionate.

There's a long way to go before they can start thinking of welcoming Manchester United to Home Park, but good luck to them. They've been on a great run to get into the play-off positions, but there are still plenty of teams biting at their heels. Crystal Palace, Ipswich, Burnley, Charlton and Wolves all have eyes on the play-offs and even QPR and Sheffield United are hoping to squeak in. So it's still very difficult to call.

But as you say Jak, it's certainly been a rollercoaster of a season. Ian Holloway's departure was very damaging because he'd done so well to bring the community and the football club together. But Paul Sturrock's a good football manager and it was hard for him to come in and keep that momentum going. He's defied the odds to get them back in with a shout and it will be interesting to see if he can finish the job.

Hello Chris, I am a Carlisle United fan and was wondering what your thoughts are on our promotion push? Earlier in the season you were unsure if we could last and seemed very unsure on us. After seeing our resilience against Forest and our excellent home form, have you now changed your mind? I can see us pushing for automatic promotion all the way, and with Swansea's recent couple of poor results, and with them still to come to Brunton Park, you never know, we could yet be in the title race. Would really like to see what you think. Craig Fox

KAMMY SAYS: Obviously I still can't say for definite whether they are going to finish in the top two. I am confident they'll make the play-offs - John Ward will be devastated if they don't - but they've given themselves a great opportunity to finish in the automatic places. Looking at the league I'd say it's between Carlisle, Forest, Swansea and Doncaster for those two places but it's still too tight to call.

All that I can say for certain is that Carlisle have had a great season. I'm still unsure if they'll last the pace for the automatics, but they're in the play-offs as far as I'm concerned - and who knows what will happen from there?

Do you have a question for Kammy? Let us know what you think by using the feedback form below and continue to email him here

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