Darren Moore will be forced to make tough decisions in his squad selection ahead of West Brom’s midweek clash with Derby County. The Baggies face a number of fitness concerns amongst their midfield contingent as well as a suspension following the dismissal of Jake Livermore on Saturday. Craig Dawson is trying to shake a knock picked up early in the second half against Wigan, possibly handing a fourth league start to Manchester City loanee Tosin Adarabioyo.
Darren Moore Selection Headache
Baggies Midfield Dilemma
West Brom’s central midfield partnership has largely comprised of experienced duo Jake Livermore and club captain Chris Brunt. The equally experienced veteran, Gareth Barry, has also come into the fold with Darren Moore regularly rotating his ageing captain to protect against a heavy Championship schedule.
Following the red card collected by Jake Livermore in the latter stages of Albion’s 1-0 defeat to Wigan, Moore now faces a selection headache. Despite facing his own fitness issues, Barry should be available and is expected to replace the suspended Livermore. But Albion find themselves in the middle of another three-game week, meaning that in all likelihood, Chris Brunt will be replaced too.
Moore could select West Brom stalwart James Morrison to play alongside Barry, although Morrison is slowly returning from his latest injury setback. It’s more likely that one of the Baggies youngsters will be given the nod instead. Sam Field and Rekeem Harper have been patiently waiting on the fringes of the Albion first team for a while. Both are waiting for their opportunity to break into the team and both very capable of filling that role.
Albion Bounce Back
Albion suffered their third defeat of the season last time out and their first defeat since August, ending a run of seven league games unbeaten. Their 1-0 defeat to Wigan at the DW Stadium was arguably their worst performance of the season. The league’s highest scorers failed to muster a single shot on target against the Latics.
West Brom were outplayed by Wigan from the outset as the Baggies looked disjointed away from home – not for the first time this season. Despite picking up a good haul of points, Darren Moore is yet to get the best out of his side on their travels. Wigan handled West Brom perfectly and were fully deserving of the three points. Moore will want his side to get back to winning ways and keep the pressure on the front-runners. Albion have back-to-back home games up next and defeat to Wigan should be nothing more than a blip.
Lampard’s Promotion Pushers
Frank Lampard has started his career in management well with early indications showing a Derby side that will be in the promotion picture come the end of the season. Lampard replaced Gary Rowett in the summer and has seen his side pick up six wins and three draws from their opening 13 games.
Derby travel to The Hawthorns with their own list of injury concerns. The Rams are without Saturday’s goalscorer Craig Bryson as well as fellow midfielders Joe Ledley and George Evans. They currently hold fifth spot in the table, just three points behind their Wednesday night hosts.
Having picked up just one point in their last three away fixtures, Derby will want to end that particular dip in away form. But The Hawthorns is not the place to go if you’re struggling on your travels. The Baggies have won their last five on the bounce on home turf and have scored 20 goals in their six home games so far this campaign.
West Brom: Johnstone, Dawson, Bartley, Hegazi, Mears, Barry, Field, Gibbs, Barnes, Rodriguez, Gayle.
Derby: Carson, Bogle, Keogh, Tomori, Forsyth, Huddlestone, Johnson, Wilson, Mount, Lawrence, Marriott.
Despite defeat on Saturday, Moore’s Baggies are third in the table, just one point off top spot. The goals have been flowing at The Hawthorns so far this season but Derby will be a tough test. Lampard’s side will be buoyed by their 2-1 win at Pride Park last time out, ending a three-game winless run, beating Sheffield United and knocking them off the top of the table in the process.
Prediction: West Brom 2-2 Derby County