For West Brom, the next few weeks could prove pivotal in their bid for Premier League survival.
Sam Allardyce’s men face five of their relegation rivals, starting with Fulham, who they welcome to the Hawthorns this afternoon.
The Cottagers sit merely two points above Albion in the standings and could go five clear with a victory in this crunch match.
If the Midlands side doesn’t pick up points in these sorts of matches, then the writing might as well already be on the wall as it’s hard to envisage any way back.
Today’s game is that cliched six-pointer – a must-win. Even in January, so it’s important for Big Sam to get his team selection spot on.
Here’s the starting Baggies XI we’re predicting…
There could be as many as four changes from the side that was walloped 5-0 by league leaders Manchester City in midweek.
Those five goals took West Brom’s home defensive record under Allardyce to a woeful zero goals scored and 17 goals conceded, at least the supporters haven’t been in attendance to witness that.
It would be wise to shore up that backline, so we may well see the inclusion of Sam Field in a defensive midfield role.
That’s one of two changes in the engine room as 20-year-old Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher returns to the side having not featured against City at all.
The pair will partner Matheus Pereira, who is deployed in a slightly more advanced position through the middle.
It means that both Romaine Sawyers and skipper Jake Livermore are axed as they probably should be, considering the duo rank as the worst two players per WhoScored average ratings.
Defensively, there isn’t much Big Sam can do given his options but after a disappointing showing from young Dara O’Shea, we could see Kyle Bartley return.
He was potentially rested with this fixture in mind having only just returned from injury in the last couple of weeks.
He’ll partner Semi Ajayi with Kieran Gibbs and Darnell Furlong keeping their places on either flank.
Whilst in the attack, both Robert Snodgrass and Karlan Grant survive, though Allardyce may want to bring the experience of Matty Phillips back into the fold over Callum Robinson, who has failed to score or assist since September.
AND in other news, West Brom could create a lethal duo by signing 51-cap “complete package”…