EXCLUSIVE

Noel Whelan claims that West Brom have lost their fear factor with the departures of Dwight Gayle and Jay Rodriguez this summer.

The former Leeds United striker and Championship expert, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, says that teams will not be so daunted by the prospect of playing the Baggies without their two talisman forwards up front.

Gayle has returned to Newcastle United after his loan spell at the Hawthorns came to an end while Rodriguez has been signed by former club Burnley, the 29-year-old moving back to the Clarets seven years after leaving.

Whelan says that there will still be plenty of quality and experience among the squad at Slaven Bilic’s disposal but the loss of the two forwards will give the opposition more hope of success

“I think when you think of West Brom, you think of Premier League,” Whelan told Football Insider

“You know they’ll have quality, they’ll have experience still as well.”

“They’ve lost two players in Gayle, he was on loan, he is a big loss. Jay Rodriguez, a huge loss because he was their talisman last year. It gives people a little bit more hope when they go to the Hawthorns and when they play against them.

“They’ve got a good academy as West Brom and I’m sure they have the strength in depth to cover the people that has left.”

Both Rodriguez and Gayle were in red hot form for West Brom last season, the former netting 22 goals in 47 Championship appearances.

The Newcastle loanee managed to score at an even better rate than his teammate, with 24 goals in 40 outings, including the play-off semi-finals.

In other West Brom news, Whelan claims the club have secured an “absolute snip” for a “very good” player this summer.