Forward thinking for Jay

Last updated : 06 January 2009 By Site Editor

Despite being brought on for his debut as a second-half substitute against Peterborough United on Saturday, Tony Mowbray believes Albion will get the best out of loan star Jay Simpson as a forward.

The Arsenal youngster, on loan until the end of the season, played the majority of his time last term out wide while farmed out to League One side Millwall - even scooping the League One Player of the Year Award.

However, the Baggies boss has insisted that Simpson will be competing for a forward's berth alongside Roman Bednar, Luke Moore and Craig Beattie for the rest of this time at the club.

"Jay's natural position is centre-forward, down the middle, where he can run over the top and be slipped in from the side," Mowbray said.

"He uses his body well so he has no problems holding it up and getting it played into him.

"I would suggest he's a centre-forward.

"Saturday was two-fold.

"Robbie Koren hadn't been feeling well and I felt the game needed livening up so we threw him in on the outside and got him onto the pitch."

The 20-year-old striker could make his Premiership debut at local rivals Aston Villa on Saturday (KO 12.45pm) with Mowbray revealing the pacy forward is in his thoughts - although not guaranteed a place in his 18-man squad.

"He's here to make an impact," the Baggies boss continued.

"I hope he plays some role at Villa.

"He showed flashes of his mobility, pace and hunger to play for the team on Saturday.

"Strikers need a break and hopefully he'll get a goal soon."