West Brom will be looking to build on back-to-back draws in the Premier League when they welcome relegation rivals Brighton to the Hawthorns this afternoon.
The Baggies need to start picking up wins as they sit 11 points adrift of safety, with only 13 games left to play. The Seagulls are only a handful of points above the dropzone themselves, so a victory for the home side could do wonders in the long run.
Last time out, Albion clinched a point at Burnley despite going down to ten men and subsequently, it means they will be without the services of mainstay centre-back Semi Ajayi for today’s encounter.
So, what sort of side will Big Sam select? Here’s the lineup we’re predicting along with the latest team and injury news from the Midlands camp…
There could be as many as three changes from last weekend, one of which is forced through the absence of the Nigerian colossus.
In the only alteration to the Baggies’ recently solid backline, we’re expecting young academy starlet Dara O’Shea to get the nod over Branislav Ivanovic in central defence, partnering Kyle Bartley, whilst Conor Townsend and Darnell Furlong continue on the flanks, in front of Sam Johnstone.
January arrival Okay Yokuslu has been making his presence felt at the base of midfield, indeed, he now ranks as Albion’s best-rated player (6.9), as per WhoScored.
Therefore, the 26-year-old is likely to remain, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Matheus Pereira making up the engine room – the latter playing in an advanced role closer to the no.10 position.
That does mean 21-year-old Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher is facing the axe from the starting XI, as we should also see Karlan Grant return with Robert Snodgrass still absent through injury. He’ll come straight in at right-wing, which will allow the playmaking Brazilian back into the middle of the pitch.
Whilst we could see Grady Diangana make a comeback in the third and final chance. He could replace Matty Phillips on the left, whilst Mbaye Diagne should remain upfront on his own.
It means there is no spot for either Callum Robinson or skipper Jake Livermore among the starters, so they’ll have to wait for the opportunity to make a point from the bench as will Romaine Sawyers and Kyle Edwards.
AND in other news, West Brom could find their next Jason Koumas in 19 y/o “real talent”…