No place like home for The Baggies
It’s a full midweek programme in the Championship and after contrasting weekend results for Darren Moore and Frank Lampard, West Brom vs Derby promises to be a fascinating contest.
After eight seasons away, it took a little time for West Brom to readjust to life back in the Championship – one point from their opening two games including a surprise home defeat to Bolton wasn’t the ideal start for The Baggies to say the least.
A run of seven wins from their next ten though has helped propel Darren Moore’s side to the upper climbs of the division and while they’ve dropped a few points on the road, The Hawthorns has proved a formidable place to visit for opposing teams.
Scored goals for fun on home turf
They’ve reeled of five successive victories in comfortable fashion as scorelines of 7-1 against QPR, 4-2 against Bristol City and 4-1 versus Reading indicate and while the visit of 5th place Derby represents a step up in quality from the sides faced so far, I expect the winning run they’re on to play a major factor in deciding who wins an important three points.
Pivotal to West Brom doing just this will be the strike partnership which is the envy of the division. The potent duo of Dwight Gayle and Jay Rodriquez actually drew a rare blank on Saturday at Wigan as the Baggies patchy away form continued but the two have scored goals for fun on home turf, netting eleven in six games between them.
Last five at home:
- vs. QPR W 7-1
- vs. Stoke W 2-1
- vs. Bristol City W 4-2
- vs. Millwall W 2-0
- vs. Reading W 4-1
Frank Lampard’s Derby made a statement by seeing off previous leaders Sheffield United at the weekend to continue maintain their good run of form at Pride Park. However, while he’ll be pleased with what he’s seeing from his side at home, the same cannot be said for their points return on the road.
The Rams haven’t won in three away fixtures and have won only two of their six played which admittedly, is by no means disgraceful. But coming up short against the likes of Millwall, Rotherham and Bolton – teams making up the bottom end of the division – will be a worry for Lampard considering some of the grounds they still have to visit.
This fixture and their weekend trip to the Riverside to take on (at the time of writing) league leaders Middlesbrough is a strong case in point for what still lies in wait for Derby, who then face equally difficult away assignments at Hillsborough and Stoke in November - we’ll certainly know a bit more about their promotion credentials come the end of that run of games.
Derby’s task will be made that bit harder without Craig Bryson who is rated 50/50 to make the short trip down the Midlands. After scoring of the opener against Sheffield United after just 19 seconds, the Scot was forced off shortly before half time with a calf strain and will leave a huge void if ruled out having started every game thus far.
Last five away:
- vs. Millwall L1-2
- vs. Hull City W 1-2
- vs. Rotherham L 0-1
- vs. Bolton L 0-1
- vs. QPR D 1-1
Derby will be on a high following their win over Sheffield United while West Brom lost their last game, away at Wigan.
Despite this I’m putting my money the way of the hosts who have looked unstoppable at the Hawthorns in recent weeks and have the armoury in attack to see off a Derby side struggling to replicate their own impressive home form, on the road.