West Brom - Aston Villa Preview: Baggies search for first win in five games

Steve Clarke's side are currently struggling for form after a great start to the season but have a good opportunity to bounce back against the injury-plagued Villans


Jones, Olsson, McAuley, Ridgewell
Morrison, Dorrans, Thorne, Brunt
Long, Lukaku


Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Bennett
Westwood, Delph, Bannan
Weimann, Benteke, N'Zogbia

Steve Clarke’s side will be without midfielders Zoltan Gera (knee) and Youssouf Mulumbu, who is on international duty for Congo at the Africa Cup of Nations for the visit of Aston Villa.

Midfielder Claudio Yacob (hamstring) is also a doubt for the game meaning Graham Dorrans and George Thorne are likely to start in central midfield.

James Morrison is also an option for Clarke to switch into the middle allowing Jerome Thomas to play on the wing.

Shane Long (thigh) has been out for the past couple of weeks but could return to the fold to partner Romelu Lukaku in attack, with reports suggesting Peter Odemwingie wants to leave the club.

Aston Villa are without several key players for the trip to the Hawthorns including long-term absentees Richard Dunne (groin) and Gary Gardner (knee).

Darren Bent (knee), Chris Herd and Marc Albrighton (both ankle) are also expected to miss the game, while Joe Bennett (illness) is also a doubt.

In better news for Paul Lambert, skipper Ron Vlaar should return in central defence. Christian Benteke will again lead the line while Andreas Weimann and Charles N’Zogbia are set to support him in a three-pronged attack.

  • Romelu Lukaku (pictured right) has scored in six of his eight starts for West Brom in the Premier League. In those games he has notched seven goals.

  • The Baggies have not won a game since Boxing Day a run that has lasted five games in all competitions.

  • Steve Clarke’s side are unbeaten in their last four games against Aston Villa winning two of them.

  • Aston Villa have won just two of their last 19 away games in the Premier League.  The last of these came in December against Liverpool.

  • Paul Lambert’s side have won just one of their last 12 Midlands derbies since beating the Baggies in December 2010.