Jordan Hugill to start, two changes – West Brom predicted XI v Coventry City
West Brom manager Valerien Ismael will be forced into at least one change for Saturday’s Championship clash against Coventry City at the Coventry Building Society Arena.
Albion are one point ahead of their Midlands rivals going into the fixture, but have taken just one point from their last five away matches.
Meanwhile, no team in the Championship has picked up more points at home this season than the Sky Blues (23).
Ismael needs to switch things up to arrest his team’s poor run of form, but the options at his disposal are limited.
Rumours continue to link Sam Johnstone with a move away from the Hawthorns, but for now he is their undisputed number one.
Keeping goals out has not been a problem for West Brom this season – they have conceded the joint-fewest goals in the Championship (16) and have recorded three clean sheets in their last five matches.
For that reason, the back three of Kyle Bartley, Matt Clarke and Cedric Kipre, flanked by full-backs Darnell Furlong and Conor Townsend, should keep their spots in the team.
Ismael has a decision to make in midfield and it is likely to result in someone playing out of position.
Jayson Molumby’s red card against Nottingham Forest last week (26 November) means he is suspended, while Jake Livermore is also serving a ban. With Robert Snodgrass ostracized by Ismael, there are no other senior options to partner Alex Mowatt.
Adam Reach has played in the centre of midfield previously and has been a utility man throughout his career, while Semi Ajayi also played there for Rotherham United.
However, we think it will be Matt Phillips who will be the makeshift midfielder. Again, he has played there previously, Ismael could lean on the 30-year-old’s experience and he would be wise to choose a creative option with Albion struggling going forward.
On that topic, the Baggies’ front three is hard to predict because they have all been so out of form.
Top scorer Karlan Grant should keep his place on the left, while despite his struggles, Grady Diangana probably remains the best option on the right.
It then comes down to a choice between Jordan Hugill and Callum Robinson as the number nine.
Robinson started against Forest but couldn’t make an impact, so Ismael could turn to Norwich loanee Hugill in the hope that he physically imposes himself on the Coventry back three.
Here’s how we expect Albion to line up against the Sky Blues, with two changes in total.
In other West Brom news, David Prutton has predicted the outcome of Saturday’s game.