Writer: S Wilton
Date:Friday October 22 2010
23 October 2010
Roberto Di Matteo will host former Chelsea team mate Mark Hughes in a game that the Baggies will seek to build on their well earned draw against Manchester United.
There was no expectation against Manchester United and even less so following two first half goals from the home team. So for all Albion followers it was a remarkable feat to come away from Old Trafford with a point. It's a point, the first one achieved at United since the season of the Great Escape, that most Baggies fans will be pleased with but a draw against Fulham will see a season's high crowd trundle away from the Hawthorns disappointed.
This game is vital for the Baggies and no less than three points will be good enough. That's not to underestimate Fulham because they are an excellent side who are solid at the back and play the ball around with ease but the Baggies really need to get three points in the bag after home draws against Spurs and more recently Bolton. Home form will be critical for Albion's chances of survival this season and they would expect games against mid table teams such as Fulham to yield points.
'We've had a decent return of 12 points from eight games and it doesn't matter to me whether the opposition is Tottenham, Manchester United, Wigan, Wolves or Blackburn - it's about the points.
'I think the more difficult part will come now.
'There wasn't much expected off us at Old Trafford or the Emirates or when we played Spurs, so now I think it is going to be more difficult.
'We're a newly-promoted team and we were expected to go down with the other promoted teams.
'I think the opposition will look at us a bit closer now.'
Peter Odemwingie looks set to miss out again so the less dynamic Marc-Antoine Fortuné will again start up front by himself. Jerome Thomas is fully fit again so he should play instead of Somen Tchoyi, who netted the equaliser against Man United. Graham Dorrans will surely be on the bench again and he could be joined by Ishmael Miller following his successful return from injury in the 5-4 reserves' loss to Chelsea.
James Morrison was excellent against Man United but his end product isn't always there. Expect Morrison to put in another star performance.
Fulham have a host of injuries to contend with, Davies, Murphy, Etuhu, Duff, Zamora, Senderos and Stoor but they could welcome back forward Andrew Johnson to their forward line.
he injuries mean that former Albion player Zoltan Gera, Jonathan Greening and Diomansy Kamara could feature for the visitors.
The Baggies were interested in Dembele before he eventually signed for the Cottagers and he is a player who works hard as well as being able to find the back of the net.
Fulham have drawn their last 4 away games but their last visit to the Hawthorns saw them lose 1-0 following a Roman Bednar goal and West Brom's first ever Premier League win came against Fulham courtesy of a goal from Big Dave, Darren Moore, on 31 August 2002.
Kevin Friend is the referee for this game having already taken charge of Albion's home win against Sunderland.
1-0 to the Baggies
The Sky game away against Blackpool on Monday, 1 November.
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Date:Friday October 22 2010
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