This is something to be excited by! What a way to kick off the play-offs than with a West Midlands derby. A trip to Villa Park is the destination for the first leg of the Sky Bet Championship play-offs and James Shan will be well aware of the dangers that Villa possess.
After a disappointing showing against Derby County in their last game of the season, James Shan will no doubt be looking at his starting eleven and know where changes need to be made.
Here’s a couple that the 40-year-old manager should look to make.
Drop Jacob Murphy
Since joining from Newcastle for the second half of the season Murphy has been important to the Baggies’ consistent fight in the play-off places. However, last week against Derby was simply not good enough from the 24-year-old.
The Englishman, who is valued at £6.3 million (by Transfermarkt), found it hard to get into the game and whenever he was on the ball he looked lost for ideas against a steady Derby defence, a defence that is arguably worse than the current Villa defence. It really wouldn’t be a surprise to see Murphy drop down to the bench for the first leg of this heated tie and see him return for the home leg.
Start Matt Phillips
After coming on for a cameo appearance against Derby on the final day, it was clear that Phillips is the wiser choice for Shan to make coming into the game later today. The 28-year-old has had a decent season on the wing for the Baggies, managing to bag himself five goals and grab six assists.
This is the type of form Shan will be praying that the Scottish international can bring to the game. It really does feel that picking the experienced head of Phillips is a no-brainer.
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