West Brom manager Slaven Bilic is predicted to make wholesale changes to his starting line-up ahead of the Carabao Cup clash against Harrogate Town at The Hawthorns on Wednesday night.
Albion’s disappointing 3-0 defeat to Leicester on Sunday would have given Bilic a lot of food for thought in regards to his team selection and formation and the clash with Harrogate is a good opportunity for him to get his players back on form.
Harrogate won their first-ever Carabao Cup match earlier this month when they beat Tranmere Rovers on penalties in the first round.
The newly-promoted League Two club also got their first-ever EFL campaign to a good start at the weekend by hammering Southend 4-0 away from home.
The Yorkshire club could still be a tricky opponent for the Baggies, which is why we predict that Bilic will make 10 changes to his starting line-up from the defeat to Leicester, naming plenty of fringe players who’ve got experience.
David Button is predicted to make his debut in goals after joining the Baggies from Brighton. Sam Johnstone has been Albion’s number one in the league under Bilic while Jonathan Bond played for the Under-23s on Monday.
In the defence, there might be two more debutants with Lee Peltier at right-back and Cedric Kipre at centre-back alongside Ahmed Hegazi. Dara O’Shea could be the only player to keep his starting spot but could play at left-back so Kieran Gibbs can be rested while Conor Townsend is recovering from a recent injury [Sky Sports].
Rekeem Harper and Sam Field might be chosen to start in the central midfield roles with Kamil Grosicki and Kyle Edwards getting run-outs on the wing.
Due to a lack of attacking midfielders who can play a central role, we think that Bilic could name a front-two of Charlie Austin and Hal Robson-Kanu, with Robson-Kanu potentially dropping deeper and providing the link-up play in the attack.
It’s hard to predict the first cup game of the season but Bilic is likely to make a lot of changes.
However, we wouldn’t be shocked if he names a full-strength side in a bid to spark some form into those who underperformed at the weekend.
In other West Brom news, Richard Keys has tipped Bilic to leave The Hawthorns before Christmas.