By Daniel Feliciano

29th Jul, 2022 | 8:40pm

Bruce makes midfield call as Jayson Molumby starts - West Brom predicted XI v Middlesbrough

West Brom are set to kick off their Championship campaign with a trip to take on Middlesbrough this weekend and Steve Bruce has some decisions to make.

The Baggies finished in 10th place last season, their worst finish since the 1999/00 season, but have since added John Swift, Jed Wallace and Okay Yokuslu to their side during the transfer window.

With Bruce now having his own squad and players at his disposal, he must select his best lineup for a strong start to the season to ensure fans are with him from the start after a poor campaign last time out.

In goal David Button is the new number one at The Hawthorns after Sam Johnstone left for Crystal Palace at the end of his contract in the summer.

Bruce has switched to a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 system during pre-season to step away from the five at the back formation that his predecessor Valerien Ismael implemented.

That shouldn’t affect Darnell Furlong and Connor Townsend too much though, who should retain their places as first-choice right back and left back respectively in the team.

Bruce has lost Matthew Clarke and let Cedric Kipre leave during the window, but he still has Dara O’Shea, Kyle Bartley and Semi Ajayi as options for now at the heart of his defence.

With new contracts penned, it’s likely to be O’Shea and Ajayi who start the season together with Bartley’s experience being called upon from the bench as and when needed.

In midfield the boss will be without his two regular holders, with captain Jake Livermore likely to miss out through illness while Yokuslu is still not fit after missing most of pre-season.

That means Jayson Molumby is likely to get the nod in that role after his loan from Brighton was made permanent, and he’ll partner Alex Mowatt in the pivot to try and control possession of the ball.

Ahead of him summer signings Wallace and Swift will start on the right wing and in the number ten role, looking to continue their good pre-season form for their new club when the season begins, while Bruce has a big call to make on the left.

Karlan Grant was top scorer last year with 18 goals and has hit three in pre-season, but Grady Diangana has been incredibly impressive in pre-season too and looks like he may have rediscovered the form that made fans fall in love with him.

Goals are likely to make Bruce lean towards 24-year-old Grant in the left-wing position, with fit again Daryl Dike leading the line up front.

Predicted West Brom XI: Button; Furlong, O’Shea, Ajayi, Townsend; Mowatt, Molumby; Wallace, Swift, Grant, Dike.

In other West Brom news, exits are “inevitable” this summer according to the boss