Writer: Lord Shepherd
Date:Saturday January 17 2009
17 January 2009
Middlesbrough visit the Baggies today only three points ahead of the bottom club. What a massive win it would be for Albion if they could manage to do the double over Boro. The fans will then really start to believe that Great Escape II is really on.
However, today's game will not be easy. At the Riverside luck and some magnificent goalkeeping from Scott Carson ensured the victory, although some Baggies fans may point to Ismael Miller's poor decision making for the margin of victory not being greater.
Gareth Southgate has been emphasising all week the importance of this game to his players and I am sure former Boro hero Mowbray will have been doing the same with Albion players.
West Brom will have been bouyed by their midweek victory in the FA Cup against Peterborough when on loan striker Jay Simpson opened his account for the club and Paul Robinson scored a rare goal.
Of course, today's game will not decide who stays up or goes down but it will be very important for the belief of both sets of fans and players.
Tony Mowbray said: "We have to take points from the teams around us to give ourselves a really good chance, to suck other teams in. If we can get a victory at the weekend it will give our cause a great push and it will damage them a bit.
"We need to keep as many teams as possible in and around us and give ourselves the best opportunity. To win three home Premier League games on the bounce would give us the psychological boost going into the next one, against Manchester United at home.
"We have got to believe we can win football matches in the league. We saw what it did to Wigan recently.They were second from bottom when we played them and then they won five out of six at home and found themselves seventh in the table."If we go on a run at home where we believe we can win every game then it will give us a really good chance."
The Baggies may have Gianni Zuiverloon back after his hamstring injury and Felipe Teixeira could make his first start of the Premier League campaign after impressing against Peterborough. Marc-Antoine Fortune is likely to be on the bench following his loan move from Nancy. Unfortunately, James Morrison will miss the visit of his old club due to a groin injury and Roman Bednar is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow of the season at Villa Park.
West Brom (from): Carson, Kiely, Zuiverloon, Hoefkens, Olsson, Barnett, Donk, Robinson, Cech, Greening, Koren, Valero, Brunt, Teixeira, Do-Heon, Dorrans, Simpson, Fortune, Moore, Beattie, Pele.
Let's hope that Simpson can keep on scoring following his opener against Peterborough
Emmanuel Pogatetz is likely to miss out for Boro and Stuart Downing is expected to take the captain's armband. Gary O'Neill and Didier Digard are likely to return to the midfield engine room.
Middlesbrough (from): Turnbull, Jones, McMahon, Bates, Riggott, Huth, Wheater, Taylor, Emnes, Tuncay, O'Neil, Arca, Digard, Johnson, Downing, Porritt, Alves, Mido.
Stuart Downing always causes the Baggies problems and if Zuiverloon doesn't make the game then expect Carl Hoefkins to have a torrid time at right back.
Middlesbrough have not won in 10 league games and the Baggies have won their last two home games.
2-1 to the Baggies.
A home FA Cup tie against Burnley on 24 Janaury followed by the visit of Manchester United on 27 January.
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Date:Saturday January 17 2009
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