Preview - West Brom v Blackpool
15 January 2011
The Baggies come into this game on the back of five straight Premier League defeats. Confidence is undoubtedly low and Paul Scharner's recent outburst intended to give a kick up the backside to his team mates could seriously backfire.
At long last Scott Carson has been taken out of the firing line to give the patient Boaz Myhill a chance to prove his worth between the sticks.
Blackpool travel to the Hawthorns cock-a-hoop after their win over Liverpool in mid week and they will be thinking that they can break the 30 point barrier by beating their fellow promoted club.
West Brom lost the reverse of this tie at Bloomfield Road earlier in the season having played for an hour with just nine men. An abject performance from referee Mike Oliver was criticised by Ian Holloway and Roberto Di Matteo at the time and it is to be hoped that this game will not be spoiled in a similar fashion.
Paul Scharner's comments
'We have to increase our will, our winning mentality and get more points under our belts. When I first came to the club, I got called Moanivator but since I stopped doing that, we have dropped.
Now my question is 'do my colleagues want to get relegated with a nice Paul Scharner or stay in the league and put up with the Moanivator in the team?!'
My main focus and intention is to keep West Bromwich Albion in the Barclays Premier League.
I have to say that I take responsibility for the last few games.
I've made mistakes and it was absolutely not good enough from me, nor were my levels.
Now it's time to change this, get focused and fight for the team.
I'm happy to be unpopular if it means we stay in the Premier League.
I'm one of the oldest in the squad and I feel it is my responsibility to say what we need to do to survive.
I've nearly experienced it every year at Wigan so I know what I am talking about.
My main focus is to wake up not only myself but the whole team.
We need to show how big our hearts are.
Everybody has to take responsibility because it's always easy to find excuses.
I am very passionate about this.
At the end of the season, it will say on my CV whether I survived in this league or dropped.
At the moment, there is no relegation on my CV and I want to keep it that way.
It's a very, very vital period now.
In the next five or six games, we will be playing against teams involved in the relegation fight.
On Saturday against Blackpool, we can change things and turn around the season.'
West Brom Team News:
Myhill comes in for Carson and Tamas returns from suspension and he should partner Scharner in defence. Pablo is fit again and Peter Odemwingie has returned to training after his ankle knock and he will start the game. Chris Brunt takes over the captaincy from the dropped Carson.
Player to watch: Chris Brunt
Brunt was not at his best against Reading so he will be looking to make an impact in his first game as captain in front of his home crowd.
Blackpool Team News:
Elliot Grandin is doubtful with a hamstring injury but Charlie Adam is expected to be fit after his ankle knock. Matthew Gilks, Billy Clarke, Chris Basham, Malaury Martin, Marlon Harewood are all ruled out through injury, while David Carney is on Asian Cup duty.
Player to watch: D J Campbell
Campbell caused problems for the Baggies defence at Bloomfield Road and he will be the main threat for the Seasiders.
Match Facts & Stats
The two teams have met 87 times over the years with the Baggies winning 41 times and the Tangerines winning 31 times.
Stuart Attwell referees his first Premier League game since September.
3-0 to the Baggies. We can but hope.
Away to Blackburn on Sunday 23 January 2011.