West Bromwich Albion must start picking up a good run of form if they want to be in contention for an automatic promotion spot at the end of the season, the side is currently four points adrift from the top two in fourth place in the table behind Blackburn Rovers, Fulham and Bournemouth.
Valerien Ismael has confirmed the return of two influential players back into the side ahead of the Cardiff City clash at the Hawthorns this afternoon.
Both Alex Mowatt and Karlan Grant will be available for the fixture against the Bluebirds today, with Mowatt completing the isolation period after testing positive in a virus outbreak in the West Brom camp, and Grant has been said to have had a false positive test, so will be available sooner than anticipated.
The Albion manager spoke in his pre-match press conference to explain Grant’s situation in particular;
“KG (Grant) received a negative PCR test after the (Derby) game,”
“He missed the game due to a wrong positive test, lateral flow. He has trained since midweek completely, with the squad.
Although the pair return to the side, Ismael confirmed that Robert Snodgrass remains out, Matt Phillips is expected back for the FA Cup game with Brighton, Kean Bryan is out with a season-long ACL injury, Kenneth Zohore is recovering from a muscle injury and Dara O’Shea is expected back in training in January.
Fans will be buzzing that Mowatt and Grant are back and available for team selection, after an abysmal performance from the Baggies in defeat against Derby last weekend that prompted fans to take to social media and make a point of how missing the duo affected the game;
One fan tweeted after the shocking Derby County defeat;
“Missing Grant and Mowatt yday our 2 best players was killer. Defence is brilliant, Val cannot be blamed for the team missing chances or making mistakes. The things he can control are very good.”
Indeed, Grant’s return to the team will be colossal considering the striker is currently the club’s top scorer on nine strikes this term. As for the latter, he has also been a crucial part of the side, bagging three goals.
Albion need to give everything today to attempt to close the gap on their Championship promotion competitors, Cardiff City are in a relegation battle down in 20th, but could escape the drop zone today if they were to beat the Baggies away from home, so we expect to see a passionate game as both teams fight to gain points at opposite ends of the table.
Either way, Ismael’s side will have a huge advantage by welcoming back two key performers.
In other news: Ismael must start Taylor Gardner-Hickman against Cardiff