Fulham travel to the Hawthorns for a crucial fixture this Saturday, after three looses on the trot, Roy Hodgson will be keen to stop the slide and return south with three points.
With West Brom being one of the promoted clubs, it is a fixture we should be looking to win if we are to be serious about this season being a far better one than last season.
But, inevitably, the ‘Baggies` will have other ideas as they seek to consolidate their future in the top flight. The game has an added buzz to it with Zoltan Gera returning to face a side who he refused to sign a new contract with, instead, deciding to move south.
We thought we`d delve into the enemy camp for this weeks quotes and where better to start than with Jonas Olsson, an international compatriot of Fredrik Stoor.
Jonas has called for a West Brom win (no surprise there) but has give us a little bit of praise, remarking,
‘It has not been a bad start to the season. I think it is important to get some points on the board from the start and take some pressure off us. So far, so good.”
‘Fulham have the same kind of football philosophy as we do. It is a team that wants to play. “
‘A good team, so we have to be at our best and on our toes to get another win.’
Anyone know if he room-shares with Fredrick on international trips?
West Brom Team News:
The home side will be without recent injury victim Kim Do-Heon, the midfielder suffered ligament damage in their last fixture. Also missing will be Filipe Teixera who has been absent for six months due to a knee problem.
Likely to replace Do-Heon will be Ishmael Miller. Also missing for the home side are Chris Brunt, Abdoulaye Meite and Neil Clement.
West Brom (from): Carson, Kiely, Zuiverloon, Hoefkens, Barnett, Donk, Olsson, Robinson, Morrison, Greening, Koren, Cech, Beattie, Moore, Miller, Valero, Bednar, MacDonald, Pele.
Player to watch: Bednar
I was impressed with his scoring abilities in the Championship and given half a yard he`ll trouble us on Saturday.
Fulham Team News:
Fulham travel to the West Midlands without the suspended Andrew Johnson, who received two yellow cards (and a subsequent red), against West Ham United last Saturday.
His place is likely to be taken by Seol Ki-Hyeon. Roy Hodgson`s only other worry relates to Johnson`s strike partner Bobby Zamora. The ex-West Ham player missed training with a cold on Thursday and Hodgson will be hoping that he`s recovered sufficiently to play, or that he hasn`t infected any of the others.
Also travelling with the squad are Fredrik Stoor and Julian Gray, both of whom are hoping they may well feature in Roy`s plans tomorrow afternoon.
Fulham (from) Schwarzer; Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky; Davies, Bullard, Murphy, Gera; Zamora, Seol, Zuberbuhler, Nevland, Dempsey, Andreasen, Kallio, Baird, Stoor, Gray.
Player to watch: Zoltan Gera
It`ll be interesting to see how Zoltan handles a return to his old stomping ground. Some players wilt whilst others, when facing old friends, turn in a match winning performance. Let`s hope it is the latter in this case.
Match Facts & Stats
The history books show that West Brom are the favoured victors when it comes to clashes between the two teams at the Hawthorns. In all League games West Brom have emerged victors 18 times compared to our 7 victories with 6 draws.
In Premier League fixtures between the two clubs, we fare even worse never having won. But, we shouldn`t be two downhearted as West Brom have only won once with the other two being draws.
Mark Halsey will be the official trying not to court controversy!
This is a tough one to call. West Brom are on a high after an away win at Middlesbrough last weekend whilst Fulham will be looking to pick up points to establish to build on the good start to the season they had. Hodgson will be keen to keep things tight and will probably go with just Zamora up front with Seol behind him.
I have this nagging feeling that Gera will score but it`s just a matter of whether our defence can hold firm to keep West Brom at bay. In their last home game, against West Ham, they came forward in waves and West Ham capitulated. But we`re made of stronger stuff and I can see us nicking it 1-0.
Our next match, in two weeks, thanks to international breaks, will see Sunderland visit Craven Cottage for a Premier League fixture.