West Bromwich Albion’s unbeaten run in the Championship came to an end against Stoke City before the October international break and Valerien Ismael believes his squad needed the rest to recharge their batteries.

The Baggies need to respond strongly against Birmingham City on Friday evening and Kevin Phillips says Ismael is right to say that his side have to get as much rest as possible given their playing style.

He told West Brom News: “Yeah, (it’s understandable) with the style of football. I was at the game at Stoke and they were pretty poor on the night, to be honest. Stoke played well so the better team on the evening won.

“With the style of play, they need to rest when they can. I think people have asked, ‘can they keep that style up all season with the size of the squad?’. It’s very difficult to do that.”

West Brom are second in the Championship with 22 points from 11 games, sitting three points adrift of leaders Bournemouth. They welcome Birmingham to the Hawthorns and boast the third-best home record in the second tier – three wins and two draws from five games.

Birmingham are 14th places and 10 points worse off than Albion in the table and are winless in their last three away games. City are coming off the back of consecutive defeats on the road, so West Brom are big favourites to return to winning ways in the league.   

Ismael will hope his players are all the better for having the international break to get some energy back.

In other news, Kevin Phillips says West Brom ‘probably’ should have signed Troy Deeney