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Lingard could be an Amex favourite
If Jesse Lingard is as influential for Albion as he was for Birmingham then Oscar Garcia's side can look forward to a top six finish in the Championship.
Supporters at the Amex get their first glimpse of the new loan signing from Manchester United in consecutive home games against fellow promotion challengers Reading tomorrow and Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday.
Lingard will have a lead role to play in opening up visiting defences and offering support to Leo Ulloa.
He was effective in this respect for Birmingham, linking up with the giant Nikola Zigic and Lee Novak.
Lee Clark, the Birmingham manager, used him either in behind the main striker or wide left, which is where Lingard began life as an Albion player at Millwall last Saturday, although he also had freedom to roam in the Lions' Den.
His impact on Birmingham's fortunes was impressive. They won five games, drew five and lost only three. In those 13 matches with Lingard in the team they also scored 21 goals, a hefty proportion of the 39 they have managed in 33 matches in total.
A Birmingham insider says it would be unfair to describe Lingard as a 'homer'. When they broke on teams away from home they exploited his pace and movement but he did not quite stand out in the same way that he did at St Andrew's, where he scored all six of his goals.
His first touch for them, on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday, was awful, a duffed cross. The Birmingham faithful wondered what they were getting. Four goals later they knew.
Lingard was also on target on home soil against Millwall and Blackpool.
The Birmingham supporters warmed to his speed, his eye for a pass, his confidence. They were also prepared to forgive the inconsistencies inevitable when you are 21 and still learning your craft.
Now it is the turn of the Amex and Albion, who should suit Lingard's style even better.
England under 21 duty has not afforded him much time to integrate with the squad on the training ground ahead of Reading and QPR's visits.
It would be wrong to expect too much too soon, particularly as much as on that amazing home debut for Birmingham, but everything points to Lingard becoming an Amex favourite.
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