West Brom are set to face a Newcastle United side in utter disarray on Sunday after the Daily Mail reported a huge training ground rift.
Albion are gearing up for a crucial Hawthorns clash on Sunday with their North-East counterparts only three points clear of the relegation zone and in dire straits.
They have won just two of their last 15 Premier League games and are in absolute freefall while Sam Allardyce’s side are sensing a late survival bid after a three-match unbeaten run.
According to the Daily Mail there were chaotic scenes at the Newcastle training ground on Tuesday when manager Steve Bruce confronted winger Matt Ritchie and ‘shoulder-barged’ him before the 31-year-old signing from Bournemouth called him a ‘coward’ and a few other choice words.
Ritchie then allegedly said he was ‘done’ with Bruce and the squad have reportedly sided with the player on this matter, with a growing feeling of resentment bubbling towards their boss.
Ready to pounce
Where does all this leave Albion ahead of Sunday?
Well, Big Sam and the squad should be buoyed by these reports as it shows just how troubled their relegation rivals are.
Not only does it give Albion a better chance in Sunday’s game where tensions should be high, but it also hints at long-term issues that have been rotting at Newcastle for quite some time.
Unless there has been an extraordinary development players do not just sway against the manager for no reason.
There have clearly been big problems at Newcastle all season with their form living proof of it, and these latest revelations just prove the point further.
While there have been instances in the past of teams banding together and using this as a way of increasing togetherness, we can’t see how any of this is beneficial to team morale ahead of a potentially season-defining game.
And we must make the most of it.
Big Sam should be sending his charges out on Sunday with belief and hunger in their bellies, and would be minded to use news of a Newcastle rift to his advantage.
Surely if we nab an early goal their confidence will start to drain.
It has come to that stage of the season where unity proves to be key, and we must show that is something we have in abundance and claim a crucial three points on Sunday.
In other West Brom news, Big Sam takes aim at VAR.