It’s the Hawthorns this weekend for one of our irregular visits to West Brom. Having completed an upward Boing! last season the Baggies are trying to buck a trend and not execute the descendant version quite as quickly as they normally do.

It’s a place we often struggle to get a result at; we’ve not won there since 2003 (late goal from Robbie). We’ve travelled four times since and achieved two draws (one in the cup) and two losses.

Cast your mind back to Christmas 2008, the last time we travelled there, and you’ll find one of the lowest points of Harry’s time in charge. Assou-Ekotto got sent off in the first half when he executed one of his trademark simultaneous tackle and spin manoeuvres, one which he obviously thinks looks good but if mistimed can look like he’s made a challenge with his studs up whilst facing away from the ball. He’ll get in trouble again through it I’m sure. Anyway in a poor game we were toothless up front but held on until late when Bednar’s foul on Dawson went unspotted and he got to a cross first in front of goal. Beattie added another one.

Our subs bench that day was O’Hara, Campbell, Gunter, Obika, Bale and Taarabt which is worth noting given the fortunes of Defoe and Dawson this past week and the fact that we’re going to have to find replacements from somewhere. Our acquisition of talent during the windows since then means that despite the loss of such key players we’re still going to be able to field a team jaw-dropping in its awesomeness. Well, not quite, but there is a chance that Lennon, Modric, Bale and Van der Vaart will all play at some point and that’s a pretty mouthwatering midfield especially if backed up by Huddlestone and the underrated Kranjcar.

All of our recently signed new boys may get an outing. Pletikosa should be challenging Cudicini if Gomes is still out, Gallas might come in for Dawson and the long wait for Sandro’s first appearance might be over depending on Redknapp’s view of what’s needed in midfield and who he feels he needs to introduce to each other before the big game on Tuesday.

For them, Morrison and maybe Dorrens are out, which they won’t be happy with. Odemwingie has looked lively up front.

The ref is Howard Webb who is making his first appearance of the season following an extended holiday, presumably to give his card-raising arm time to recover after overuse.


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