Dwight Gayle and Matt Phillips are expected to return to West Brom’s starting line-up as they host Sheffield United this weekend. A third win on the bounce would see the Baggies complete a league double over Chris Wilder’s men and leapfrog them in the table.
The two offensive powerhouses of the Championship sit second and fourth respectively heading into this weekend. Sheffield United hold just one more point than their hosts as the promotion race intensifies. The race to the Premier League has been blown wide open in recent weeks, as just three points now separate the top four.
West Brom Host Sheffield United
Gayle and Phillips Return
Dwight Gayle and Matt Phillips return to the fold as West Brom’s devastating front three are reunited. Gayle is back from a two-match ban following his apparent dive which won a late penalty against Nottingham Forest. Albion have won both games without Gayle, scoring five goals in the process, but Darren Moore is expected to start Gayle nevertheless.
Matt Phillips could also make his return to the starting lineup following his welcome return in midweek. Phillips made an appearance from the bench against his former club QPR after recovering from a lengthy ankle injury.
The sheer number of goals scored by these two sides is the obvious narrative for this clash. However, West Brom have been improving their defensive record of late. Clean sheets had become a major issue for the Baggies with just one in their first 22 league games.
The arrival of Mason Holgate on loan from Everton has given West Brom a natural right-back and a solid back line. Five clean sheets in their last 11 games is definite progress as Moore identified and improved his problem area. Goals will put you in the race whilst clean sheets will help you across the line.
When these two kick off at 5.30, they will have been made aware of the results involving promotion rivals Leeds and Norwich City, adding extra pressure. This game will potentially have a huge say on who is playing Premier League football next season. Both sides are aiming to get a foothold in the promotion race heading towards the final run-in.
West Brom travel to Leeds on Friday following this fixture and can’t afford to drop points to both clubs. They will be keen to ease the pressure on themselves by taking all three points at home but will find it tough keeping the Blades out.
Prediction: West Brom 2-1 Sheffield United