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West Brom’s reserve game may have provided a clue into this weekend’s team selection

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…

West Bromwich Albion are finally back in action this weekend as the Championship returns following the international break.

Slaven Bilic’s men host Sheffield Wednesday at the Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon as they look to extend their run at the top of the table.

The Baggies currently hold a two-point cushion over those in the chasing pack.

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Although, the Croatian chief is tasked with coping in the absence of his central midfield duo as captain Jake Livermore and Romaine Sawyers will be serving a one-match suspension.

Both players have started every single game in the league this campaign, while Sawyers has played 100% of the minutes available, so there hasn’t been much of an opportunity to test their depth in the role.

Many of the other options carry their doubts, whether that be down to injury, fitness, or a lack of game time, but the decision on Tuesday afternoon could offer serious insight into who will start this weekend.

Albion named a strong looking line up for their reserve fixture against Port Vale as Gareth Barry, Chris Brunt, Rekeem Harper, Kieran Gibbs, Jonathan Bond, and Chris Willock all featured.

They defeated the League Two outfit 4-0.

It was Barry’s first taste of match action since the start of March as injury very nearly threatened his career.

Of all the senior squad members to play a part, Brunt enjoyed the least amount of time on the pitch by playing just the first half.

This could well have signalled Bilic’s intentions to start him on Saturday afternoon.

Should Brunt start vs SWFC?

Yes

Yes

No

No

The 34-year-old has only made three substitute appearances in the Championship while also playing the full 90 in their one Carabao Cup match.

He clearly needed a decent runout, but to make sure he doesn’t pick up an injury and is still fresh, he only played one half.

It remains to be seen if this is very much the case, it would certainly not be a surprise to see the long-serving veteran selected in one of the two spots up for grabs.

Article title: West Brom’s reserve game may have provided a clue into this weekend’s team selection

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