West Bromwich Albion fans have had plenty to smile about this season, with Carlos Corberan having masterminded a sensational turnaround in form that has seen them become genuine promotion candidates.
It is a far cry from the Steve Bruce regime, where relegation seemed the more likely conclusion to the season.
One of the few benefits of his tenure was the emergence of Taylor Gardner-Hickman, who truly cemented himself as a fine first-team option for the Baggies.
The young midfielder offered a glowing recommendation for their academy, which is currently brimming with talent all vying for a spot in the first team. One such star is hulking striker Jovan Malcolm.
Can Malcolm be West Brom’s next Lukaku?
The 20-year-old marksman has been excelling this season for the U21s, with his lethal nature and physique likely to draw comparisons to former loanee Romelu Lukaku.
Although the Belgian only spent a season at the Hawthorns, his impact was monumental. He would score 17 times and assist a further seven, using his pace and strength to terrorise defences during the 2012/13 campaign.
Would you give Malcolm some senior minutes?
This would be translated into long-term Premier League success, as his exploits at Everton led to him becoming their all-time top scorer in the division.
Now, in Malcolm, they have a youngster who boasts all the attributes to emulate the goalscoring machine. He even admitted the need to “bully” defenders when the occasion demands, as he recounted the goal on his senior debut from last month.
It marked one of six he has scored this season for the ‘powerful, lively and pacy attacker‘ – as dubbed by West Brom’s official channels – with the bulk of them coming in the Premier League 2. There, he has six goal contributions in just ten games.
Although Lukaku may have struggled upon his fairytale return to Chelsea, Reece James’s admission of his immense presence could draw further similarities between himself and Malcolm. The English defender noted: “I can’t really think of any other players like him in the world. How strong he is and how powerful, everyone he just comes up against he bullies.”
With both strikers having been noted as physical anomalies who know how to utilise their size, perhaps the young West Brom hopeful could look to the legendary Belgian as someone to emulate.
With Daryl Dike also thriving, the future of striking is bright in this part of the Midlands, who all seem to fit that stellar Lukaku mould.