Loss of Miller for season adds to Mowbray's woes

West Bromwich left short of forward options after striker injured against Portsmouth
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The Independent Football

The West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Mowbray described the loss of striker Ishmael Miller for the rest of the season with cruciate ligament damage as "a big blow".

Miller suffered the injury in a collision with Portsmouth goalkeeper David James during the second half of Sunday's Premier League match at the Hawthorns. The former Manchester City player was just showing signs of adjusting to life in the top flight with three goals in the last seven matches but Albion are resigned to being without him for the remainder of the campaign, which makes Mowbray's need to bring in a new striker during the January transfer window even more urgent.

Mowbray said: "It is a blow to us because, while Ishmael is only 21, he is a threat to most teams he plays against with his size, his power and his strength. It put teams on the back foot. It was just a collision. He went for the ball with David James and they collided together. It was one of those things."

The manager has already admitted he will have to try and bring players in on loan next month or sell to raise funds to buy a player. He said: "You know our situation with trying to bring players in. We are looking to loan players if we can. We are making inquiries. But it is very difficult to bring in a Premier League quality striker who is going to score you lots of goals on that basis."

Miller has been used by Mowbray as the only central striker in recent matches in a 4-4-1-1 formation with captain Jonathan Greening operating behind him in a free role from midfield. Roman Bednar and Luke Moore will now be vying to fill the gap left by Miller in Saturday's crucial league game at Sunderland.

The loss of Miller has encouraged Paul Robinson to urge West Brom to bring in new players during the January transfer window. Robinson feels a fresh injection of talent next month will be crucial, although Mowbray has already indicated he will be looking primarily at loan signings. The left-back said: "I believe in the technical ability of these players we've already got here, the mentality of the players as well.

"I know they are from different leagues – Spain, Holland, etc – and the togetherness of the players is there to see and they all want to win. But January is just around the corner and, whatever the chairman [Jeremy Peace] and the manager have got up their sleeves, the more players that come in, the better it is for the players we have got here.

"The fact we are being linked with players is a good thing. If you are not linked with players, you need to start being worried. But as players we stay away from it. It is down to the manager and the chairman what players they bring in. If no faces come in, the players here just have to get their head down and work hard.

"We have just got to be professional about our jobs and that is going into every game believing we can win and getting three points. We want to keep this club going forward."

Robinson experienced a similar poor run of results when relegated with Watford but does not have the same negativefeeling about Albion's current predicament.

He said: "I think I went through the same sort of run at Watford. That was a bad year but I don't think this is a bad year. A few of us here have stayed up before via the 'Great Escape' [in 2005] and Dean Kiely did something similar when at Portsmouth. We still believe and that is the most important thing, that you keep believing."