Dwight Gayle will prove himself in the Premier League if given a chance, says Don Goodman.
Gayle has been shackled with a reputation of guaranteeing goals in the Championship, but struggling to replicate that success in the top tier.
However, Goodman is confident the 29-year-old has what it takes to be a force in the Premier League.
“I’m a big admirer of Dwight Gayle,” said Goodman. “It was a brilliant move getting him in, he’s a guarantee of goals at Championship level.
“I personally believe, given an opportunity at the higher level, he will score goals. He never got a consistent chance at Crystal Palace or Newcastle.
“He’s got a bit of pace about him, and he can stick the ball in the back of the net.”
Gayle has been Goodman’s pick of the Baggies this season, but he’s also been impressed with another loanee.
“Harvey Barnes has been a player that’s stood out,” he said. “It’s whether Leicester recall him in January, he’s been that good that it’s a possibility.”
Goodman believes the Baggies should be targeting play-offs as a minimum but having covered the Championship for 12 years, he knows that is easier said than done.
“If they’re not (near the top) it will be a very disappointing season,” he said. “They have to be by the very nature of the club, the fans demand it, the stature of the club demands it.
“They have to at least be contending at the top of the table and as a minimum finish in a play-off position.
“But Villa have had one of the strongest squads in the league for the last couple of seasons [and haven’t gone up]. It’s one of the toughest leagues in the world, it’s quite unique.
“There’s only five or six clubs that haven’t been Premier League clubs, they all know what it’s like to taste it, the financial rewards are enormous.
“West Brom are one of a number of very big clubs who are striving to get back in the Premier League.”