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When West Brom went down 2-0 at Millwall on January 29, it felt only a matter of time before Valerien Ismael was removed from his position as head coach.
Even with the security of a four-year contract, there was little justification to retain the Frenchman’s services given the standard of football which was being produced, and it is difficult to argue that the club’s hierarchy have not made a sensible decision in appointing Bruce.
Although the former Newcastle United boss will have his detractors, he has history of winning promotion from this division, and that is the be all and end all when it comes to the rest of West Brom’s season.
In theory, the squad should relish the opportunity of a new playing style, but results may not come so easily with the West Midlands outfit having won just three of their last 13 league fixtures.
Nevertheless, it rarely gets pointed out that West Brom possess the joint-best defensive record in the division, and that gives Bruce something to work with ahead of a potentially-pivotal meeting on Wednesday night.
Barring any injury issues, Heckingbottom may be prepared to stick with the side which edged out Birmingham on Friday.
However, there is scope for an attacking player coming into the team with Oli McBurnie, David McGoldrick or the recently-recalled Daniel Jebbison all in contention.
While Morgan Gibbs-White is close to returning from a knee injury, the Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee will only be named on the substitutes’ bench at best.
Bruce will almost certainly make changes to the West Brom XI with Grady Diangana and Callum Robinson both pushing for a recall in the final third.
Semi Ajayi may return to the back three, while academy graduate Taylor Gardner-Hickman is an option at right wing-back.
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Sheffield United possible starting lineup:
Foderingham; Basham, Egan, Davies; Bogle, Norwood, Berge, Fleck, Norrington-Davies; Ndiaye; Sharp
West Bromwich Albion possible starting lineup:
Johnstone; Clarke, Bartley, Ajayi; Furlong, Livermore, Mowatt, Townsend; Grant, Carroll, Diangana