West Brom vs Aston Villa preview

Possibly one of the biggest games of the season thus far. On top of being a fiercely contested derby game, both sides are in desperate need of a win, West Brom to keep their dreams of a European place live and kicking, and Villa to keep their status of a Premier League club.

As long as the weather does not prevent this game from happening on the scheduled date, it will come exactly 124 years after the two clubs first ever played each other, which gives both sides extra incentive.

The Baggies shocked everyone with their early season form as they climbed into the top 4, but 3 consecutive losses have seen them start to drop down the league and they now sit in 7th. Steve Clarke is waiting to hear whether or not Claudio Yacob and Marc-Antoine Fortune will be available for Saturday’s late kick-off, whilst Shane Long and Chris Brunt are likely to be able play some part after overcoming a dead leg and illness respectively.

Villa will be without Marc Albrighton and Chris Herd due to injuries, whilst Darren Bent and Roman Vlaar are both doubtful but will face late tests. Villa’s struggles have been well documented this campaign and they make up 1/3 of the drop-zone, but Paul Lambert has received the board’s backing and he will have his fingers firmly crossed that his side get the rub of the green tomorrow.

West Brom are unbeaten in the last 4 games with Villa after breaking a run of 26 years without a win, and they will be looking to exploit the fact that the visitors going into this game have failed to score in 7 of their last 11 outings in the league.

The hosts will definitely start as favourites, but as the old cliché goes, anything can happen in a derby game.