By Noel Whelan

16th Apr, 2019 | 11:00am

Whelan Exclusive: These two West Brom players can stop Aston Villa winning play-offs


West Brom forward pair Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle can stop Aston Villa winning the end-of-season play-offs, according to Noel Whelan.

Dean Smith’s side have won eight matches on the trot to catapult them into contention for one of the three promotion places for Championship clubs.

The two automatic spots are beyond Villa and Albion have little hope of narrowing the nine-point gap on second-placed Leeds United, but both of the Midlands giants are well positioned for the May play-offs.

Villa have emerged as many observers’ favourites for the third promotion slot following their remarkable run, as they emerge as the form side at just the right time.

But former Leeds and Coventry City striker Whelan is convinced the Baggies have the firepower to prevent Villa marching into the Premier League.

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“Scoring goals win matches and only Norwich have scored more times than West Brom this season,” Whelan exclusively told Football Insider. “They have massive experience across the front line and the dangermen are undoubtedly Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle.

“They are a potent pairing and complement each other well. Rodriguez is strong, powerful, can link up the play and score goals. Gayle can play out wide but as a central striker he can make diagonal runs off the centre-backs. 

“Rodriguez is not as clinical as Gayle, who inside the six-yard box will put away most chances that come is his way.”

Rodriguez and Gayle have both scored 21 league goals this season, with the former Southampton man’s tally coming from 42 starts, while the on-loan Newcastle ace has made 30 starts and five further sub appearances.

In other Aston Villa news, it can be the REVEALED that the club are readying a £30million move for a Villa player after jetting in for a transfer mission.