West Brom boss Roy Hodgson believes it could be time for super-sub Carlos Vela to move up.
The Mexican, on loan from Arsenal, has scored two crucial goals in two games coming on from the bench and the Baggies boss thinks he could be ready to start.
“I’d be quite happy to play Carlos from the start,” said the former Liverpool and Fulham manager.
“At the moment he’s in a position where the club is probably most fortunate in the sense we do have quite a few players who play in that position. So, it’s that little bit harder for him to break into the competition.”
“But if he continues to do as well as he’s done in training and when he’s been given a chance, I’m pretty sure he’ll get his chance from the start.”
In the midweek draw at Stoke, Hodgson chose to recall defender Abdoulaye Meite from the wilderness and give England goalkeeper Scott Carson another opportunity.
“Stoke isn’t an easy place for any goalkeeper,” said Hodgson. “Your goalkeeper is called into action when you play against Stoke.”
“The ball is in your penalty area pretty often from the long throw-ins and long goal-kicks. I think he’ll take some confidence from that.”
The Albion manager will pit his wits against a man he respects in Saturday’s derby – Birmingham City’s Alex McLeish, fresh from his Carling Cup triumph.
“Alex is an experienced manager and he’s got a team that is very disciplined, organised and hard-working,” Hodgson said.
“I’m expecting every bit the disciplined, hard-working team any team I have coached expects when we play them.”
“I might be lucky; they might still be hung over and not care too much about the match – but I doubt that very much!”
Hodgson is hoping star striker Peter Odemwingie is fit to face the Blues.
“Peter’s ankle was okay and he was fit to play in the Stoke game,” he said.
“He had missed a few training sessions with his ankle before the Stoke game.”
“But it was the kick he got when he came on as substitute and was fouled by [Ryan] Shawcross as he broke clear that damaged his calf.”
“He had treatment Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – but trained today and looked sharp.”
“I’d have to say Dorrans is very doubtful.”