West Bromwich Albion have a return to the Premier League firmly in their sights as we enter the final eight games of the Sky Bet Championship campaign.
The Baggies regained top spot with a point at home to Birmingham City last time out and have a seven point cushion between them and third with 24 points left to play for. Slaven Bilic's side have been in the automatic promotion places since October as they seek a return to the top flight at the second time of asking.
Albion have the best away record in the second tier and have been beaten just twice on the road all season, those defeats coming at the hands of Leeds United and Cardiff City.
The goals have been well spread around the Albion squad with only Hal Robson-Kanu (pictured above) in double figures (10). Livewire winger Matheus Pereira has caught the eye as have Albion's midfield duo of Romaine Sawyers and Jake Livermore. At the back, Albion have conceded under a goal a game with former Rotherham United man Semi Ajayi earning rave reviews.
Slaven Bilić was announced as West Bromwich Albion's new manager in June, tasked with returning The Baggies to the top flight.
The Croatian defender began his career in 1988 with hometown club Hajduk Split, later having successful spells with Karlsruher SC, West Ham United and Everton. At international level, Bilić won 44 caps between 1992 and 1999, playing in Euro 1996 and the 1998 FIFA World Cup, helping the team to third place at the latter.
Bilić returned to Hajduk in 1999 and retired two years later. Following a short spell in charge of the team during the 2001-02 season, Bilić coached the Croatian Under-21s before stepping up to the senior side in 2006. He led the team to the quarter-finals of the 2008 European Championship and left after the next edition four years later. Lokomotiv Moscow was next on his CV before he spent two years apiece managing Turkish club Beşiktaş and West Ham. A five month spell with Saudi side Al-Ittihad, which ended in February 2019 after just three wins in 15 games, preceded his arrival in the West Midlands.
Bryan Mbeumo is available again after last week's positive test for Coronavirus which means Thomas Frank has a fully fit squad to choose from.
As with most sides, Albion's squad fitness has been helped by the enforced break with only Nathan Ferguson and Jonathan Leko (ACL) not available for selection.
THOMAS' PRE-MATCH THOUGHTS
🆚 Joe Chapman of Birmingham Live looks ahead to tonight's game
⚖ Keith Stroud set to take charge at Griffin Park
HOW TO FOLLOW
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