By Darren Bent

25th Feb, 2020 | 4:44pm

'Big blow' - Exclusive: Bent frustrated by early West Brom team news v Preston

Darren Bent claims West Brom have been dealt a “big blow” by losing Romaine Sawyers through suspension ahead of their clash against Preston. 

The former Aston Villa and England hitman, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, insists the 28-year-old is a hugely influential player who will be missed by Slaven Bilic and his teammates on Tuesday night.

Sawyers will miss out against Alex Neil’s side, as well as the Baggies’ next two games after being sent off in the win over Bristol City, the midfielder grabbing Jamie Paterson, his old teammate at Walsall, by the throat.

Bent says that while Bilic has the likes of Jake Livermore and Gareth Barry to fill the void in the middle, the summer signing will still be sorely missed – although he questioned whether he should have seen red.

Bent told Football Insider: “Sawyers getting sent off, that’s a blow, that’s a big blow, he’s such an influential player.

“I don’t think it was a red card first and foremost, I know he’s grabbed him by the throat which obviously is not great but I don’t know what the ref’s doing.

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“Paterson’s kicked him three times before he’s turned around and he’s obviously said something to Sawyers which has caused him to react..

“It’s a blow for West Brom, they’ve got Jake Livermore who can hold the fort and to be fair they’ve got Gareth Barry who can come in, he’s got experience.” 

Sawyers has 33 appearances for West Brom since his return to the Hawthorns, with his one and only goal coming against Cardiff back in October.

Despite coming through the Baggies’ youth ranks, he never featured for the club before leaving for Walsall.

In other West Brom news, Football Insider pundit believes that Bilic will be buzzing after a significant player claim.