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West Brom V Wigan at The Hawthorns : Match Preview

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03 May 2013 14:01:21

West Brom V Wigan at The Hawthorns : Match Preview

West Brom V Wigan - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Three Baggies fall

West Brom will be without captain Chris Brunt, striker Marc-Antoine Fortune and defender Goran Popov for the Barclays Premier League clash with Wigan.

Brunt missed the 3-0 win at Southampton with a knee injury and sits out again, while Popov has a calf problem.

Fortune starts a three-game suspension but Youssouf Mulumbu returns from a ban of his own and Peter Odemwingie is in contention for a first appearance since March 30.

West Brom have the relative luxury of approaching their final four games of the season with no pressure.

The unlikely prospect of relegation was banished weeks ago and there is no chance of a late push for European football.

But, although boss Steve Clarke is happy with his side's efforts to date, he is eager to see them work hard until the very last kick and a 3-0 win at Southampton last time out suggests he may not be disappointed.

"It's a reward for all the hard work we did earlier in season, that we can sit above the relegation fight," he said.

"Unfortunately we're not in the fight for European places, which would have been better, but it's nice to be comfortable where we are.

"The problem is to be comfortable but not complacent.

"But we don't want the season to be an anti-climax. We want to have two three, four good performances and pick up more points.

"I think we're already better than last season but there are still two or three teams below us who can catch us.

"We have to cement that eighth position we're in and we probably need another three or four points to do that. That's the next focus."

Wigan are forced into a defensive change with Maynor Figueroa ruled out for the rest of the season with a groin injury.

Paraguay centre-back Antolin Alcaraz (hamstring) is close to fitness but unlikely to return this weekend, meaning Ronnie Stam could come in at the back.

Midfielder Ben Watson, out since last November with a broken leg but on the bench last week, could figure while defender Roman Golobart and midfielder Fraser Fyvie are in contention after knocks.

Wigan were denied victory after conceding a last-minute own goal equaliser to Tottenham last weekend.

That came after good performances, but in losing causes, against Manchester City and West Ham.

Martinez knows luck needs to turn quickly but is not expecting favours against mid-table sides that might have little to play for, in West Brom and Swansea, in the next two games.

He said: "If anything, it can be quite tricky to play those sides because they can relax, they can be confident about what they do.

"I have never seen a situation where a team plays for nothing.

"Probably the aim of the team is done but, individually, every player plays for their own situation - for contracts, or whatever.

"In this league, if you are not 100 per cent, you have got no chance to get points and that is the message for Saturday.

"I don't think you would expect West Brom to take the foot off the pedal at all.

"I don't think that goes with their make-up, it is not the way they have been playing this season.

"They have been brave, going from game to game, coping with bad results in a remarkable manner.

"I don't think the team will ever accept this is the end of the season.

"We are facing a team who are going to be relaxed, very composed about what they do and focused on winning every point they have got left.

"We know we are going to face a very difficult side on Saturday."


PA

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