Leaning visitors in West Midlands derby
Birmingham City extended their cushion on the bottom three to eight points with a dramatic win at Swansea City on Saturday.
The result came at an important for John Eustace’s men who have not been the same animal since the World Cup break.
Carlos Corberan is favourite to become the new Leeds United after Jesse Marsch was relieved of his duties, and that may well mean West Bromwich Albion arrive at St Andrew’s with a caretaker in charge on Friday evening.
However, there should be enough leaders in the dressing room for them to carry on their impressive form since the departure of Steve Bruce.
Dara O’Shea and Erik Pieters have built an excellent partnership at the heart of defence for Albion and they will be aiming to inflict revenge on the Blues, having lost to them at The Hawthorns earlier on in the season.
West Brom have conceded just 30 goals from 29 outings, allowing chances on their own goal at an average of 1.02 expected goals (xG) against per game and a continuation of their current process should see them comfortably into a top six berth.
George Hall, Harlee Dean, Jobe Bellingham, Josh Williams, Marc Roberts, Tate Campbell and Troy Deeney are sidelined for the hosts.
Alex Palmer, Kyle Bartley and Matt Phillips are ruled out for the visitors.
David Button put in an assured display in the Baggies’ 1-0 win over Coventry City last time out, which will have put some supporters’ minds at rest after the poor form he showed at the beginning of the season.
Goalkeeper remains a position that the Baggies need to strengthen in the next few transfer windows, but as things stand the defence and Okay Yokuslu sitting in front are doing enough to limit the opposition on a consistent basis.
Blues games have been fairly entertaining of late, but the Baggies’ defensive record has dissuaded me from taking a goals angle on.
Blues have scored in seven of ten.
Blues have conceded in seven of ten.
Blues have seen both teams score in seven of ten.
Blues have seen over 2.5 goals in eight of ten.
Albion have scored in eight of ten.
Albion have conceded in five of ten.
Albion have seen both teams score in three of ten.
Albion have seen over 2.5 goals in five of ten.