By Rob Jarvis

8th Jan, 2022 | 10:30am

Kevin Phillips backs West Brom changes v Brighton, moots Reyes Cleary start

We’re delighted to welcome former West Brom striker Kevin Phillips as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at The Hawthorns

Kevin Phillips has urged Valerien Ismael not to go too weak with his West Brom team selection in the FA Cup against Brighton this afternoon.

The ex-Baggies talisman has warned that a thrashing defeat could hit morale even harder than form in the Championship is doing at this moment in time.

Phillips has backed the likes of Grady Diangana to make a difference, with Reyes Cleary also potentially tipped for his first senior start for the club.

“It’s a difficult one,” he exclusively told West Brom News.

“It would be ideal to get a morale-boosting result, so I see it being a bit of a mixture, looking at players who have played a lot of minutes getting a rest and players who need minutes will get an opportunity.

“I personally would try and mix it up, you certainly don’t want to field a weakened side and get thrashed.

“It will be perfect for him [Diangana] to play and hopefully take his opportunity.

“It’s an opportunity [for Cleary], any player who gets an opportunity at this stage of the season, you have to go and take it.”

Cleary has been sensational for the under-23s this season, and Ismael has not been afraid to hand out debuts.

The likes of Taylor Gardner-Hickman and Tom Fellows have been rewarded already in the Championship, and now it is time for the striker to do the same.

Jordan Hugill has not been good enough, and Daryl Dike is being saved for next week, meaning Cleary has the perfect chance to start.

Let’s hope he is trusted, and he can take that chance with both hands if given to him at The Hawthorns.

In other West Brom news, a reliable journalist has shared if the Baggies career of one player is over after shattering news