WBA-MAD Preview: Albion vs Villa
Joseph Chapman looks forward to the derby Here it is folks. The only West Midlands team that Albion fans will see at the Hawthorns this season (besides their own side), and the stakes couldn't be higher. If it goes ahead.Both Baggies and Villans are desperate to see their team pick up three points, not only because of the opposition (which only adds extra spice to the encounter) but due to each side's poor run of form.Both Steve Clarke and Paul Lambert are feeling the effects of recent cup action. Albion got dumped out of the FA Cup midweek by bottom club QPR, after drawing the original tie a couple of weeks ago. Villa must face League 2 club Bradford in the second leg of the Capital One cup semi finals next week and reverse a 3-1 deficit suffered at Valley Parade.After seeing Nigel Adkins axed at Southampton today, many premier league managers will be looking over their shoulders between now and the end of the season, knowing only a few bad results can decide their fate. Albion need a victory to resurrect their campaign; Villa need points to contribute to their survival push.This time last year, Albion and Villa were beating Stoke and Wolves respectively in the wintry conditions. Both sets of supporters will be hoping another derby victory to provide some warmth- providing the match survives the elements.Team NewsClaudio Yacob is in with a chance after training this week. The influential midfielder has been missing for six weeks with a hamstring problem but Clarke has given him a chance.Chris Brunt has recovered from his illness that made him miss the cup tie on Tuesday, while Shane Long and Marc-Antoine Fortune have been rated at 50/50. Zoltan Gera, Steven Reid and Youssouf Mulumbu will be absent for various reasons. Darren Bent and Richard Dunne have been ruled out of the derby, despite light training this week. Chris Herd and Marc Albrighton will also miss out. Ron Vlaar and Joe Bennett may make their long awaited returns in defence.Match Stats West Brom are unbeaten in their last four games against Aston Villa. They have won two of those matches, with the last two ending in draws. Prior to that run, Villa were unbeaten against the Baggies in 17 league and cup games, a sequence that lasted 26 years. Last match: 1-1, Darren Bent cancelled out Shane Long's opener earlier this season. Names that relate to both: Ron Atkinson, Kevin Phillips, Liam Ridgewell, Curtis Davies (Source: BBC Football) Prediction The proverbial form book goes out of the window, supposedly, for a derby game. But neither side has any particular form. Lambert will inevitably have one eye on the Bradford tie, whereas the Baggies won't play again until the 30th January. I think it will be very tight, and not as straightforward as some neutrals may think. Match score: 2-1 What do you think the score will be tomorrow? Have your say here at Baggies Banter.
Source: WBA MAD
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