By Noel Whelan

28th Feb, 2020 | 4:00pm

Exclusive: Whelan tips West Brom 32-app mainstay for axe v Wigan tomorrow

Noel Whelan insists that West Brom defender Kyle Bartley faces a fight to get back into the side after Ahmed Hegazi’s recent performances.

The former Leeds United striker and Championship expert, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says the Egyptian international has done exactly what manager Slaven Bilic will have been looking for.

The 29-year-old has started the Baggies’ last two Championship fixtures alongside Semi Ajayi, with 6ft 4in colossus Bartley dropping to the substitutes’ bench.

With West Brom keeping clean sheets against both Bristol City and Preston, Whelan expects Bilic to keep his former mainstay benched on Saturday against Wigan.

Asked if Bartley faced a fight to take his place back, Whelan told Football Insider: “Oh yeah, absolutely. When a player comes in and puts in a decent performance, he demands that next game. 

“I don’t think Kyle Bartley will be starting the next game, I’d be very surprised, I think Bilic will have seen the performance and reaction from the players and that is exactly what a manager wants to see.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“I think he’ll keep the faith in him and give him another go, keep that position and keep Bartley on the bench.” 

Prior to Hegazi’s promotion into the starting XI last weekend, Bartley had missed just two Championship games this season.

He has a total of 32 appearances under his belt so far, with all but one of those coming in the league.

In other West Brom news, Whelan believes Bilic is over the moon with one bit of news about a player.