Albion seeking Championship play-offs response

Updated: 29/02/2024

West Brom need to fight back from a one-goal deficit if they are to reach the Championship play-off final.

West Brom will be hoping to buck the trend when they take on Aston Villa in the play-off semi-final first second leg on Tuesday night and come from behind to earn a place in the Wembley final (WBA 12/5, Aston Villa 1/3 – To Qualify).

Derby County and Leicester City are the only two sides to have failed to turn a first-leg lead into a place in the final in the last 18 years, so the Baggies know the stats are against them as they trail Villa 2-1 after the first leg.

Crucially for West Brom, they are without their talismanic striker Dwight Gayle after the on-loan frontman was sent off late on in the first leg having put the Baggies ahead early in the first half.

West Brom caretaker boss Jimmy Shan will have to decide who to replace Gayle with, but his goal record – Saturday’s strike made it 24 for the season – means he will be a big miss for the side, regardless of who comes in.

Gayle’s suspension would also see him miss the final if West Brom can come from behind to book a date at Wembley on May 27.

Shan told the BBC that he is pondering his options up front: “We’ve got Jay Rodriguez (4/1 – First Goalscorer), who can play centrally and down the middle and he’s a big goal threat as well.

“What it does present is that the lads waiting in the wings have an opportunity to perform and be a hero.

“We’ve got some wonderful attacking options and players and we may have to tweak how we play on the pitch.”

While the play-off stats suggest Dean Smith’s side will be triumphant, West Brom will look at a unbeaten home record against Villa in their last seven meetings since September 2008 for inspiration at the Hawthorns.

Odds subject to change.

This post first appeared here

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