By 90Min
May 11, 2019

West Bromwich Albion face a huge local derby when they travel to Villa Park on Saturday afternoon in the first leg of their Championship playoff semi-final.

In their first season since finishing bottom of the Premier League, the Baggies have finished fourth, with only champions Norwich scoring more goals over the campaign.

Their decision to sack Darren Moore in February was met with widespread bewilderment, but caretaker boss Jimmy Shan has done an admirable job of guiding the Black Country club to the playoffs, although he will be desperate to improve their recent away record of four defeats in six.

However, Shan's side will be confident heading into the game, having already won 2-0 at Villa Park in February.

Goalkeepers & Defenders

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Sam Johnstone (GK) - The former Villa shot stopper is one of the most reliable keepers in the Championship, and his distribution has ignited many a promising counter-attack for the Baggies this season.

Mason Holgate (RWB) - Since joining from Everton on loan in January, Holgate has been an excellent addition to a sometimes shaky West Brom back line, and will prove an extremely tough test for whoever the Villa left winger may be.

Craig Dawson (CB) - The 29-year-old has been at the Hawthorns since 2010, and is still quick enough to cover any gaps that need plugging.

Kyle Bartley (CB) - Excellent with the ball at his feet, Bartley is a commanding presence in West Brom's back three, having made 28 league appearances in his debut season at the club. 

Ahmed Hegazi (CB) - Has settled nicely into the back line since his arrival last January, and is another big defender to give the likes of Tammy Abraham a very difficult afternoon.

Kieran Gibbs (LB) - The former England and Arsenal full-back is now 29 years old, and will want to be playing Premier League football again the near future. His forward thinking and crossing ability will be a danger for the Villa back four throughout the clash.


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Chris Brunt (CM) - The 34-year-old club captain will bring some much needed experience to the team, and will surely be relishing the opportunity to mark, and maybe even kick Jack Grealish out of the game. Should start ahead of the promising 19-year-old Rakeem Harper due to the sheer magnitude of the tie.

Stefan Johansen (CM) - Has played an important role in the midfield since his arrival from Fulham on the January transfer window's final day, and has claimed two goals and three assists in his 12 appearances for West Brom as well as tidying up defensively.


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Jacob Murphy (RW) - His West Brom stint has quite taken off as well as many would have hoped for, but is still an extremely useful weapon to exploit a potential weak spot on Villa's left side.

Dwight Gayle (ST) - Everyone knew that West Brom meant business when they signed Dwight Gayle from Newcastle in the summer, and he hasn't let them down. Only three men have scored more than Gayle this season, who has 23 strikes to his name. One of the quickest and deadliest finishers in the league who his opponents will do very well to stop on Saturday.

Jay Rodriguez (LW) - Many were surprised that Rodriguez stayed with the Baggies following their relegation, but he has been nearly as prolific as Gayle while playing the majority of the season on the wing. The 29-year-old will be desperate to add to his two goals he's already scored against the Villans this season.

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