West Bromwich Albion travel to Griffin Park to take on Brentford on Friday night in what could be a decisive week in the Championship.
The Baggies, who moved to the top of the table last weekend, sit seven points clear in the automatic promotion places with eight games to go after a goalless draw with Birmingham City.
Albion’s opponents have got a great opportunity to challenge for the automatic promotion places themselves as they defeated promotion rivals Fulham 2-0 at the weekend moving them just eight points away from Leeds and Albion.
This a massive game for both clubs but if the Baggies can win, and other results go their way, they could potentially go 10 points clear of third-place which will be huge, with so few games remaining.
Before thinking about winning this game, the Baggies primary task will be to get on the scoresheet, with Slaven Bilic’s men failing to score in their last three Championship encounters.
In terms of team news, Bilic has an almost fully fit squad to choose from again, with no players picking up any injuries against Blues. The only two absentees are still Jonathan Leko and Nathan Ferguson.
Here’s how we think WBA will line up on Friday night:
GK: Sam Johnstone
Johnstone wasn’t tested heavily last week but earned himself another clean sheet. Fully expected to retain his place.
RB: Darnell Furlong
Furlong was impressive against Blues, adding a much needed attacking threat down the right-hand side, as well as helping the team earn a clean sheet. Deserves to start again.
CB: Semi Ajayi
Ajayi was exceptional last week at the heart of the defence. Should start again.
CB: Ahmed Hegazi
Hegazi was impressive on his return, despite giving a couple of needless fouls away. His partnership with Ajayi shut out Birmingham so he should be given another start.
LB: Conor Townsend
Townsend was very unlucky to be dropped out the starting line-up for the opening week back. However, with Gibbs’s fitness needing to be preserved, Townsend might be given a chance to carry on the impressive form he had before lockdown.
CM: Jake Livermore (C)
Livermore was a bit off the pace last week but that can be excused with it being three months since his last competitive game. The club captain should start though like he has done all season.
CM: Romaine Sawyers
Sawyers was one of the top performers in the stalemate last week and dictated the midfield battle. Should keep his place to start against his former club.
CM: Filip Krovinovic
Krovinovic was benched and brought on with little time left and could not make an impact. With the 4-3-3 formation being predicted here, I can see the Croat settling back into the midfield three.
RW: Matheus Pereira
Pereira was the main man looking to force the play last week but he couldn’t help Albion take all three points. He is expected to be announced as a permanent signing before this game which is a massive boost for the Baggies, and this is bound to be celebrated by handing the playmaker another start.
LW: Grady Diangana
Diangana was brought on last week to try and salvage the game but he couldn’t do so. There’s no doubt that Diangana makes the Albion attack so much more powerful on the left side and with a massive test against Brentford coming up, this could be the perfect time to start him.
ST: Hal Robson-Kanu
Robson-Kanu was quiet last week but showed glimpses that he is still the Baggies ‘best striking option at the club. Will be looking to add more goals to his game in these final few matches and should be leading the line again.