Five More Months: Griffiths Is Staying Put

Credit Graham Burrell

Michael Appleton confirmed that fears over Josh Griffiths‘ future were largely unfounded, as the deadline for his recall has now passed.

It had been thought we’d lose the keeper, whose impressive performances haven’t been reflected in clean sheets after he was refused permission to play in the FA Cup. However, West Brom’s caution appears to have been just that, caution, and not a precursor to recalling the keeper.

“We’ve not heard from them and the deadline has passed so he will be with us for the rest of the season,” he said in this morning’s press conference. “He’s got stronger and stronger. He had a very difficult start as we all know in the first five or six games, but since then his performances have grown and he’s improved with his feet as well.

“That’s been recognised, not only by myself but by the people at West Brom as well. We knew his capabilities as a goalkeeper – his handling, his shot-stopping skills – but I think we’ve helped him develop as a player, which is part and parcel of the job as well.”

Credit Graham Burrell

News that Griffiths is with us for the season is obviously being well received; it’s been tough in terms of goals conceded, but very few in recent weeks can be attributed to him. He’s been in good form making some fine stops, and it’s clear to see why he’s rated so highly at both domestic, and international level.

However, with our loan slots filling up quickly, attention will surely turn to his understudy. Archie Mair has returned to his parent club, and the plan was initially for Sam Long to go out on loan as well. With four loans already in the squad, and at least one imminent, it means we’re rapidly approaching the loans limit. Whilst we could survive with six, juggling one around for the matchday squad, having seven wouldn’t be productive, especially not as a reserve keeper who doesn’t get a game.

Will it mean a permanent deal for a free agent keeper, or will Sam Long have to wait until next season for a stint in senior football? Either way, we know Josh is out number one for the rest of the season, so let’s raise a glass to West Brom this evening.