West Bromwich Albion continue their automatic promotion chase as they welcome Birmingham City to The Hawthorns in Friday Night Football from Sky Bet Championship.
Victory would see West Brom go top ahead of Saturday’s action, whilst Birmingham can go as high as 11th with a win.
Matt Clarke could return for West Brom after recovering from a hamstring injury.
Alex Mowatt, Robert Snodgrass (ankle), Kenneth Zohore (fitness) is a doubt but Rayhaan Tulloch (groin) and Dara O’Shea (ankle) remain absent.
Birmingham could have Neil Etheridge available in goal for the first time this season after recovering from a bout of Coronavirus during the summer, which forced him to rebuild his fitness levels through the opening weeks of the season.
Ivan Sanchez (pelvis) is a doubt but Adan George (knee) remains absent.
- West Brom are unbeaten in their last seven league meetings against Birmingham City (W4, D3).
- Birmingham have won just one of their last nine league visits to The Hawthorns (W1, D4, L4).
- Three of West Brom’s ten league goals scored at home this season have been scored by Karlan Grant.
- Birmingham have failed to score in their last four league matches but haven’t gone five consecutive league matches without a goal since October-November 2005 in Premier League.
- Birmingham failed to win any of their two away matches refereed by Jeremy Simpson last season (D1, L1).
West Brom enter this match off the back of a disappointing defeat at Stoke last time out in which they simply endured a rare sloppy performance, especially with just two of 11 shots converted onto target but the international break has allowed them an opportunity to reset.
Birmingham likewise would of relished the fortnight off after enduring a four-match goal drought and a fifth consecutive match without a goal will be worrying, especially given how well they started the season so I do expect them to come here looking for progress.
I however do expect West Brom to come out fighting with home advantage in this Midlands derby but reactions will be key for both teams, particularly in terms of seizing the early control because if the hosts score first then this could well be an one-sided result.
Prediction: WBA 2-0 Birmingham City
Result: WBA 1-0 Birmingham City