West Bromwich Albion came from behind against Reading in midweek to claim three points and give them breathing space at the top. After three wins on the spin, Albion are now six points clear of the chasing pack; they find themselves in an enviable position as Nottingham Forest head to The Hawthorns.
West Bromwich Albion Back on Track
West Brom will be confident that they have managed to get their season back on track after a dreadful couple of months threatened to derail their promotion push. Their form took a worrying dip after their 5-1 demolition of Swansea City back on December 8th. They picked up just eight of the next 27 points available to them through December and January, suffering defeats to Middlesbrough, Stoke City and Cardiff City.
By the beginning of February, West Brom had seen their 12 point gap to third place close to just four as the top of the Championship table began to compress. A relatively unimpressive home win against relegation strugglers Luton Town ended a run of seven games without a win.
But it was back-to-back away wins against Millwall and Reading this week that has comprehensively put West Brom back in control. A dominant display in stormy conditions at The New Den before a typically resilient comeback at the Madejski. Suddenly the Baggies find themselves with breathing space.
Nottingham Forest Visit
Nottingham Forest head to The Hawthorns having seen their charge towards the top two slowed in recent weeks. Sabri Lamouchi‘s side had launched into a run that saw them win six games from nine before their midweek defeat to Charlton Athletic. The loss ended Charlton’s 12-game winless run away from home and inflicted Forest’s second defeat in three games.
Forest sit just two points off the top two in fifth place. Those teams around them also faulted in midweek with just three points now separating second and seventh. The current playoff picture is so tight that victory for Forest could move them into second. Meanwhile, defeat could see them fall out of the playoff places altogether.
Beating Leeds United and losing to Charlton Athletic in the space of a few days shows the wild unpredictability of Nottingham Forest and the Championship in general. However, they will be buoyed by the fact that they have fared well against the table-toppers recently; Forest claiming scalps of both Leeds and Brentford.
Ones to Watch
Filip Krovinovic has really found his feet at West Brom and has forced himself into Slaven Bilić’s first team. The Croatian, on loan from Benfica, has been used mostly as a substitute this season but when asked to cover the suspended Matheus Pereira, he grasped his opportunity firmly. A classy player in the middle of the park capable of finding pockets of space and making things happen.
Lewis Grabban is Forest’s main threat and he will fancy his chances against a defence that has kept just one clean sheet at the Hawthorns this season. He has 16 goals to his name already this campaign. Furthermore, he will be on the hunt for goals in this one, given that he hasn’t scored in four games.
West Bromwich Albion have struggled at The Hawthorns recently, winning just one of their last five. They have lost there just twice all season though these defeats came in the last four. But in the pick of this weekend’s Championship fixtures, the home side will want to keep the momentum with the battle below them tightening up.