Last season: 10th
West Brom’s top half finish, their first since Romelu Lukaku inspired them to eighth in 2012/13, ought to have created a sense of optimism for Baggies fans going into this summer.
However, their dismal finish to last season in which they failed to win any of their last eight matches, combined with a poor transfer window that has seen their captain join Stoke and few players arrive, has seen the terrace grumblings start before a ball has even been kicked this season.
It is worth remembering that when Tony Pulis joined the club in January 2015, West Brom looked in real danger of being relegated.
The job he has done in the two and a half years since should not be underestimated, but for many supporters the aim must now be more than simply survival.
With the top six looking further away than ever it could be, the cup competitions give West Brom their most likely source of kicks.
Glass half full: Tony Pulis knows what is required to stay away from trouble and the majority of last year’s squad are still there. The club should have money to spend and are expected to strengthen before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
Glass half empty: West Brom endured a terrible finish to last season and are yet to make any major moves in the transfer market this summer. Jay Rodriguez has not looked the same since his injury while Darren Fletcher’s departure will have cost them vital experience in the heart of midfield.
New kids on the block: Jay Rodriguez – Southampton, Ahmed Hegazi – Al Ahly (loan), Zhang Yu'Ning – Vitesse, Ben Pierce – Everton.
Left the building: Darren Fletcher – Stoke, Daniel Barbir – released, Zachary Elbouzedi – Inverness CT, Callam Jones – released, Sebastien Pocognoli – Standard Liege, Jack Rose – released, Andre Wright – released, Craig Gardener – Birmingham, Zhang Yu'Ning – Werder Bremen.
The gaffer: Tony Pulis – West Brom fans have a love-hate relationship with the veteran Welsh manager who has provided stability but has been unable to get the Baggies to kick on once Premier League safety has been secured. A tough start to the season could see the pressure pile on the former Stoke City boss.
Star man: Jonny Evans – The former Manchester United centre-back has established himself as a vital cog in Tony Pulis’s backline. The Northern Irishman has matured over the past two seasons at the Hawthorns and it will be vital that he stays fit if the Baggies are to enjoy a strong campaign this time around.
One to watch: Jay Rodriguez – The 28-year-old striker never fully recovered his form at Southampton after missing a whole season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in April 2014. A change of scene and fresh start may allow him to kick-start his career that was flying before his injury problems.
Premier League Title Odds: 1000/1
Top Four Odds: 200/1
Relegation Odds: 15/8
Top Goalscorer Odds: Salomon Rondon 11/8
Star Bet: Tony Pulis’ ability to keep relegation at bay and then see his side turn it in for the rest of the season was never more apparent than last year when West Brom picked up just two points from their last nine fixtures. You have to expect it wouldn’t take much to see them go forward this year and replicate, or better, their 10th place finish. It looks a great shout to back the Baggies to finish above the Saints. West Brom to finish higher than Southampton 9/4.
First five games: Bournemouth (H), Burnley (A), Stoke City (H), Brighton (A), West Ham (H).