West Bromwich Albion centre-back Dara O’Shea could be set to start the Baggies’ Championship clash this evening.
That’s according to Matt Maher’s recent report for the Express & Star, with the journalist claiming that, following Albion’s 2-0 defeat to Luton Town on Saturday, Steve Bruce looks set to make sweeping changes to his starting XI for the trip to Middlesbrough on Tuesday night.
Maher goes on to state that one such change could be the return of the 22-year-old defender, who has not started a fixture for West Brom since fracturing his ankle during international duty with the Republic of Ireland back in September of last year.
In his article, the journalist writes: “Steve Bruce will consider handing Dara O’Shea his first Albion start since August in tonight’s crunch clash with Middlesbrough.
“O’Shea has recently returned from a five-month lay-off after suffering a fractured ankle while playing for the Republic of Ireland and could be drafted into the Baggies XI as Bruce shuffles the pack on Teesside.
“Though Albion’s defensive record is far from their biggest concern at present, the 22-year-old’s mentality would strengthen a team sorely lacking in confidence and which wilted alarmingly in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Luton.”
Considering just how important a part of the West Brom backline O’Shea had proven himself to be prior to his injury, the news that the centre-back could finally be in line for a start this evening is sure to have left The Hawthorns faithful buzzing.
Indeed, over his six league outings this season, the £2.7m-rated defender has been in imperious form for the Baggies, helping his side keep two clean sheets and scoring two goals, as well as making an average of 1.8 interceptions, two tackles, 3.2 clearances and winning 8.5 duels – at a success rate of 65% – per game.
As such, the potential reintroduction of O’Shea to West Brom’s starting XI will undoubtedly provide Bruce’s chances of leaving the Riverside Stadium with all three points with a major boost – a result that, considering the Baggies are now well and truly in a battle for a top-six finish this season, would certainly leave everyone involved with the club delighted.