Andy Carroll: West Brom sign former England international until end of season

Middlesbrough's Anfernee Dijksteel challenges Reading's Andy Carroll during the Championship match at Riverside Stadium
Andy Carroll joined Reading in November on a short-term contract

Former England striker Andy Carroll has joined West Bromwich Albion on a free transfer until the end of the season.

The 33-year-old ex-Newcastle, Liverpool and West Ham forward was a free agent after his deal with Championship club Reading expired earlier this month.

Albion needed cover after Daryl Dike suffered a hamstring injury in last weekend's 3-0 win over Peterborough that has ruled him out for eight weeks.

Carroll signed in time to be eligible for his debut at Millwall on Saturday.

"We've got the long-term solution with Dike, a long-term number nine," Albion boss Valerien Ismael told BBC Radio WM.

"But unfortunately he is injured, eight weeks, 10 or 11 games. It's a lot of points.

"We analysed the situation and it was clear we had to do something in the short-term.

"Is someone able to help us? Is there someone to suit our way to play?"

Carroll, who has a tally of 82 goals in 354 appearances (140 of them off the bench) in his injury-plagued career, scored twice in his eight Championship appearances for the Royals.

"He's experienced and he can help us get the power we need in the opponents' box," Ismael added.

"He has that hunger, desire and in our situation it is important to add some strength to our game."

Analysis

BBC Radio WM's Albion commentator Rob Gurney

"For a man who was rumoured to have been sacked on Thursday, Valerien Ismael cut a bullish, upbeat, confident figure at his pre-match press briefing, ahead of the trip to Millwall.

"And with his fingers, toes and everything else crossed, he hopes in Andy Carroll, the club have found him a short-term replacement for the stricken Daryl Dike.

"The 33-year-old is the big physical presence up front that "Val Ball" demands. Hopefully he steers clear of the injuries that have dogged his career because, with the right delivery from wide positions, you can see the logic of bringing him in.

"Chasing opposition defenders down surely won't be in his brief. But Ismael has made it clear that he wants to return to the high-intensity, high-press, high-energy style that most fans really took to, right at the start of the season.

"The Preston defeat was as far away from that as it was possible to be. Ismael admitted he got the "gameplan" wrong, that it was the worst performance from one of his teams for three years, and he'd had a sleepless night afterwards.

"The big question of course remains - can he get a different tune from the players who stank The Hawthorns out on Wednesday, less than 72 hours later? Over to you, Andy..."

Find all the latest football transfers on our dedicated page.

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