The equation is now very simple for West Brom – beat QPR tonight and they will be a Premier League club next season; drop points and they risk being bumped into the play-offs.
With Brentford just a point behind and with a better goal difference, even a draw for the Bees would push them into second if the Baggies lose. Should Albion lose and Brentford fail to win, fourth-placed Fulham would sweep the carpet from under both of them and take the second automatic promotion spot if they beat Wigan. [via Sky Sports]
The good news for Slaven Bilic is that automatic promotion is in his team’s hands – win their game and it doesn’t matter what anyone else does – but they go into tonight’s match at The Hawthorns on a three-match winless run and off the back of a shock defeat at Huddersfield last Friday.
As per Birmingham Live, Kieran Gibbs is the only confirmed injury absentee for the visit of QPR, so Bilic should be able to name a largely unchanged team from the one that started at the John Smith’s Stadium, should he feel reluctant to disrupt the line-up excessively:
Sam Johnstone will continue in goal to complete an ever-present Championship season (assuming he plays the full 90 minutes tonight), while there could also be an unchanged back four of Conor Townsend, Ahmed Hegazi, Semi Ajayi and Dara O’Shea. That quartet have an impressive 10 goals between them this term and, just as the latter did on Friday, one of them might just pop up at a very opportune moment tonight.
Bilic might also keep the defensive midfield pairing of Romaine Sawyers and Jake Livermore – the captain was taken off at half-time against Huddersfield but the manager might want his experience and leadership on the pitch tonight with the stakes being so high.
Are you confident that West Brom will be promoted tonight?
There could be a change further up the pitch, with Matt Phillips lasting just 45 minutes upon his return to the starting line-up against the Terriers. The Scotland winger has scored eight goals this season but has been on a barren streak in recent months, so Grady Diangana could move over to the right to take his place in a move which would free up Kamil Grosicki, who scored in the recent win over Hull, to come in on the left wing. Matheus Pereira continues through the middle.
Bilic restored Hal Robson-Kanu to the team on Friday in place of Charlie Austin and, while the Welshman didn’t find the net, the manager could be reluctant to drop him out again just after putting him back into to the line-up. Also, with the 31-year-old scoring 10 goals this season, he has proven capable of winning points for West Brom.
Will it be continuity or change for the Baggies’ line-up as they seek to finally get over the promotion line tonight? Bilic has some crucial decisions to make in a few hours’ time.
West Brom fans, would you be happy with this line-up tonight or do you want to see further changes? Join in the discussion by commenting below!
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