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Blackpool v West Bromwich Albion - Sky Bet Championship

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Fan Focus: West Brom fan Andy gives us the lowdown on Sunderland’s opponents today!

We spoke to West Brom fan Andy Caulton ahead of Sunderland’s game today to find out more about Carlos Corberan’s side. Which West Brom players should we be wary of?

Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

As things stand, West Brom are just two points away from the playoffs - are fans feeling confident about making the top six?

Andy Caulton: Confidence is soaring but football changes so quickly.

This time last week, half time v Stoke, one down, playing poorly, Dike injured... But football can turn on a dime, and two Molumby goals created hope again.

It’s going to be a rocking Hawthorns, permission pre-game to play the WBA battle song, The Liquidator [missing for a few months], so it’s going to be an electric atmosphere!

With one defeat in eight matches, the Baggies are hitting form at the right time, what are the main factors behind your improved form?

AC: The key factor is excellent home form, in a sense, but we’ve drawn our last two v QPR and Millwall, so it seems at home we’ve struggled compared to the overall season of clean sheets and wins.

Corberan is an excellent coach, his preparation is tremendous, but the squad is hugely stretched, yet somehow it’s still working.

The work rate of midfielder Jayson Molomby who also shines with Ireland has been a huge factor, as has the return of Alex Palmer in goal.

West Bromwich Albion v Wigan Athletic - Sky Bet Championship
Carlos Corberán guided Huddersfield to the Championship playoff final last season.
Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

In some ways, do you find it frustrating seeing how well the team could have done if you had started with Carlos Coberan in charge rather than Steve Bruce?


Bruce’s spell left us at the bottom, with nowhere to go than up. His blind loyalty to hapless keeper David Button made zero sense considering his other options.

From all accounts WBA’s team were tactically ill-prepared and fitness levels were woeful - the contrast with Corberan is huge.

Moving onto the players, American striker Daryl Dike has been ruled out long-term with an achilles injury - how big a blow is this?

AC: Dike has rotated with Thomas Asante, and Dike seems to be an impact player, who cannot play 90 minutes, his best goal was his impact goal vs Sunderland.

Of course, the issue is we are down to ONE striker now. Thomas Asante is much quicker on counter-attacks and keeping possession, he has led the line remarkably well for a 300K forward from Salford City, [recommended by Bruce’s son, Alex!]

Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion - Sky Bet Championship
Daryl Dike’s late header won the match for West Brom when the two sides last met in December.
Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images

When the two sides last met, Sunderland struggled to stop the crosses from Jed Wallace in particular, with five goals and eight assists has he been one of your best players this season?

AC: Jed has been one of our best players, relied on for effort and commitment, but his stats during the last twenty games have been in stark contrast, one goal and three assists.

He is a key player that we need more out of if we are to make the playoffs.

Aside from the above-mentioned players, which West Brom players will Sunderland have to be wary of?

AC: More of a strong team ethic than actual individual players, but I think Alex Palmer is key.

WBA don’t have that many goals in them, so keeping it tight the back is massive and he is a quality keeper.

Blackpool v West Bromwich Albion - Sky Bet Championship
Brandon Thomas-Asante is West Brom’s top scorer this season with seven goals.
Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

Off the pitch, West Brom have been suffering from ongoing ownership issues, what is the current situation and how damaging would it be if you don’t achieve promotion?

AC: Too long an answer to be honest, but the Action for Albion Group have done amazing work in exposing an absentee owner who is taking money out of the club and not paying it back.

A classic example is a 5 million loan that he took out of the club, which he promised to pay back in December. This has not happened.

How do you think Coberan will approach the match tactically?

AC: Carlos will keep it tight and look to attack on the break, ball retention is everything and his attention to detail is simply amazing.

Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion - Sky Bet Championship
Amad scored from the penalty spot when the two sides met earlier this season.
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Aside from Dike, are any players missing and which eleven do you think Coberan will select?

AC: I think it will be the same team who finished against Blackpool, as we have 17 players out!

Palmer (GK), Furlong, Ajayi, Pieters, Townsend, Molumby, Taylor-Hickman, Wallace, Rogic, Albrighton, Thomas-Asante.

Sunderland have won ONE of our last 16 meetings with West Brom - what is your score prediction for today’s match?

AC: A very tight game where maybe both teams feel it was a missed opportunity. 1-1.


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