West Bromwich Albion will look for their first win in five Championship games when they take on a struggling Stoke City side at The Hawthorns on Monday night.
The Baggies have drawn four and lost one of their last five games, most recently blowing two leads at Charlton last Saturday in a 2-2 draw.
However, Albion will be boosted by the fact that they are back in front of their home crowd and have definitely found more success at The Hawthorns than on the road recently.
Fans will be concerned about Slaven Bilic’s side’s defensive problems, particularly against teams at the bottom of the table, with Albion failing to pick up maximum points against the likes of Barnsley, Charlton and Middlesbrough in recent weeks. They will no doubt be looking to eradicate those issues against another relegation threatened side in Stoke who have only been defeated once in three of their last four Championship games, picking up crucial points recently against Huddersfield and Millwall.
For team news, Grady Diangana is in line to start after getting half an hour as a substitute last week at Charlton. Nathan Ferguson will also be part of the squad after overcoming his knee injury. Kieran Gibbs will be out with a continued hamstring problem while Rakeem Harper and Jack Fitzwater are also sidelined. Kenneth Zohore will be pushing to start again after netting in last week’s draw.
Here’s how we think WBA will line up on Monday night:
GK: Sam Johnstone
Wasn’t the best last week conceding a late own goal in the draw with Charlton. Still is one of the best keepers in the league though and should start again.
RB: Darnell Furlong
Established himself as the first choice right back and should get the nod again.
CB: Semi Ajayi
Wasn’t great overall at Charlton but has been quite reliable this season so far so I expect him to start once more.
CB: Ahmed Hegazi
Hegazi has been very solid when called upon recently and with Bartley’s inability to deal with Charlton’s equaliser last week, he surely deserves a chance to get back in the team.
LB: Nathan Ferguson
Fans have been very critical towards Townsend and he did himself no favours at Charlton. With Ferguson returning from injury, I would like to see him reinstated to the line up.
CM: Jake Livermore (C)
The captain insists the side aren’t panicking and he will be called upon to make sure that their isn’t any unrest after this game. Will be looking to effect the game more after a poor game at Charlton but he should lead the team out again.
CM: Romaine Sawyers
Sawyers will once again be needed to add the much needed composure in midfield in games like this. Was impressive last week with his accurate passing and fans will be looking for more of the same.
CAM: Matheus Pereira
Has been quiet recently but will be looking to reignite in front of the Albion faithful. Hopefully the return of Diangana will help that.
RW: Hal Robson-Kanu
Netted in last week’s draw with a close range finish. After his impressive performance, it’s hard to see him dropping out.
LW: Grady Diangana
Surely another week of training will get Diangana back in to the starting line up for this game. Will be looking to stretch the Stoke defence and create opportunities for the other forwards around him.
ST: Kenneth Zohore
Netted twice in two games at Charlton with smart finishes. With his confidence being boosted he surely has to start again to give Albion some much needed muscle up front.