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Having accumulated just 12 points from 11 matches since his arrival, West Brom cannot claim to have significantly improved under Steve Bruce.
Nevertheless, home wins over Fulham and Bournemouth, the top two teams in the division, have highlighted that the Baggies squad is good enough for this level and simply under-performed at the turn of the year.
With seven points still the deficit to the playoffs, West Brom are no more than outsiders to secure a place in next season’s top flight, but another maximum return at the weekend would keep the clubs above them looking over their shoulder.
Andy Carroll returned to the starting lineup in midweek to net his second strike in 11 appearances, although the forward showed why his presence in the team is as important as his goals.
After a previous poor run of form in the final third, West Brom have now netted nine times in six games, and a continued improvement in that area of the pitch will at least keep them competitive during the run-in.
Barring any injury issues, Bruce could stick with the same West Brom XI which started the game against Bournemouth.
However, Callum Robinson is in contention for a recall due to his greater goal threat, with Grady Diangana‘s place seemingly at risk.
Despite having an extra day of rest, more changes are expected to be made to Stoke’s team after their latest setback at Reading.
After Jordan Thompson‘s injury in midweek, Romaine Sawyers is in line for a recall after scoring as a substitute, although Mario Vrancic is an alternative.
Tyrese Campbell and Steven Fletcher are also in contention, with D’Margio Wright-Phillips and Josh Maja possibly dropping down to the bench.
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West Bromwich Albion possible starting lineup:
Johnstone; Ajayi, Bartley, Clarke; Furlong, Gardner-Hickman, Livermore, Mowatt, Townsend; Carroll, Diangana
Stoke City possible starting lineup:
Bonham; Wilmot, Jagielka, Harwood-Bellis, Tymon; Allen, Baker; Brown, Sawyers, Campbell; Fletcher