Tony Pulis West Brom West Bromwich
West Brom are unlikely to go down under Tony Pulis, but it seems equally unlikely they will achieve anything other than a mediocre mid-table finishGetty

Last season

Premier League: 13th

FA Cup: Quarter-final

League Cup: Fourth round

Top scorer: Saido Berahino (20)

Summer's work

West Bromwich have maintained a relatively cautious approach to transfers during the summer so far (as of 7 August 2015), with only three players signed on permanent deals and none sold for a fee as we approach the final hectic month of the window. After suffering consecutive relegations when playing for Wigan, Republic of Ireland winger James McClean arrives at the cost of £1.5m ($2.3m) in order to boost Tony Pulis' creative options. And Rickie Lambert will hope to help ease the goal-scoring burden on Saido Berahino following his move from boyhood idols Liverpool.

The Baggies have also improved their defensive options with the signing of James Chester from relegated Hull, while talented young Arsenal prodigy Serge Gnabry has been brought in on a season-long loan deal. Reports also suggest that talks regarding a club-record £15m move for Salomon Rondon have reached an advanced stage; this is a deal that is sure to provide plenty of intrigue if indeed it is completed.

With regards to departures, long-serving midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu has left for Norwich on a free transfer, while Graham Dorrans has also signed a two-year deal at Carrow Road after a successful loan spell. Donervon Daniels and Jason Davidson have joined Wigan and Huddersfield respectively.

Rickie Lambert Liverpool West Brom West Bromwich
Rickie Lambert will aim to rediscover his scoring touch after one poor season at AnfieldGetty

Manager – Tony Pulis

Like him or loathe him, you know exactly what you are going to get from Pulis. No nonsense and totally uncompromising, the former Stoke stalwart resigned his position as manager of Crystal Palace just two days before the action got under way last season due to disagreements over transfer targets.

Taking over at The Hawthorns on New Year's Day 2015 – after West Brom endured a run of four wins in 19 outings under Father Ted lookalike Alan Irvine, leaving them poised one point outside of the relegation zone – Pulis made West Brom far more resilient: they ended up finishing comfortably above the bottom three in 13th.

Key player – Saido Berahino

Behind Burnley, Aston Villa, Sunderland and Hull, West Brom were the fifth-lowest scorers in the Premier League last season. That figure will need to improve considerably if Pulis' side are to do anything other than tread water during the coming months. Lambert's arrival should help providing he is able to recapture the form he displayed at Southampton, and Rondon's career record currently stands at a healthy 62 goals in 148 league games.

However, most crucial to their hopes of staying clear of any unwanted danger is the future of Berahino. The 21 year old scored 20 times in all competitions last term – 13 more than record signing Brown Ideye, 14 more than Victor Anichebe and 16 more than fourth-highest scorer James Morrison. Tottenham have been persistently credited with an interest in his signature at around the £10m mark, although The Telegraph has suggested that West Brom will not contemplate a sale for anything less than £25m. Such resolve is admirable given his importance the the cause.

Saido Berahino
Losing Saido Berahino would come as a huge blow to West Brom's hopes of avoiding troubleGetty

Expectations

For West Brom to avoid any unnecessary disappointment this season, then expectations must be realistic from the outset. With Pulis steering the ship they are unlikely to be sucked into a relegation scrap, but a lack of quality would suggest they are not yet ready to challenge the likes of Swansea, Everton, Southampton and Stoke for a top-half finish.

Another cup run certainly would not go amiss, given that it's likely to be the only source of excitement on offer. Yet in the age of bumper broadcasting revenue, simply retaining a place in the Premier League can be seen as a satisfying end in itself.

IBT prediction – 14th

A season of low-thrills consolidation is likely for West Brom, who have the nous and manager necessary not to be concerned with any possible return to the Championship. The days of being the archetypal yo-yo club appear to be at an end, although further progression is unlikely to be achieved without plentiful investment and a more attacking approach, the latter of which would conflict with Pulis' defensive principles.