West Bromwich Albion could be recalling Josh Griffiths from his loan spell at Lincoln City after refusing permission for him to play in their FA Cup clash with Bowers & Pitsea, says Lincolnshire Live, and Kevin Phillips has a theory why.

He believes Sam Johnstone’s impending exit could be the reason behind recalling Griffiths, telling West Brom News: “Possibly, but he could also be getting called back just so he can go somewhere else. You just don’t know.

“Generally, when you get called back, it could be for cover. Sam Johnstone might not have any intention to leave the club and I’m sure the club will not be intending to get rid of him. But you’d leave yourself short if it did happen.

“Sam’s been linked with a lot of clubs so it could possibly happen. It’ll be a cautious decision to bring Griffiths back, just in case Johnstone does leave.” Johnstone is out of contract at the end of the season and isn’t close to putting pen to paper on an extension.

The England international joined West Brom on a four-year deal from Manchester United in 2018 and has gone on to make 147 appearances in all competitions, conceding 196 goals with 37 clean sheets.

Johnstone has conceded 13 goals and kept seven clean sheets in 16 Championship appearances this season, so it’s easy to see why Premier League clubs are paying attention.

The 28-year-old will be a bargain on a free transfer next summer, but it will be a major loss for West Brom. They won’t want to lose Johnstone midway through the season, but the timing of Griffith’s return is interesting.

He’s made 17 appearances for Lincoln, conceding 22 goals, so he’s been a regular at Sincil Bank since joining on loan. The 20-year-old isn’t returning to West Brom because of his form, so why the move?

In other news, fans on social media hail Conor Gallagher after making international debut