West Bromwich Albion will be looking to consolidate their position at the top of the Championship when they take on Cardiff City in midweek.
Incredibly, Slaven Bilic’s side are winless in six league matches but remain in first position, with just the single point separating them from second-place Leeds United.
Despite the recent blip in fortunes, the Baggies will be buoyed by their recent FA Cup win over West Ham, and take on a Cardiff side experiencing a rough patch of their own.
Neil Harris’ Bluebirds are yet to really recover from their 6-1 capitulation against QPR on New Year’s Day, having won just once since that detrimental afternoon at Loftus Road, but three points against the league leaders could launch them into the top half of the table.
Read on for Cardiff vs West Brom preview, predictions, team news, TV match coverage and more.
When is Cardiff vs West Brom and where can I watch live?
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium
Date: Tuesday, 28 January 2020
Kick-off: 7:45 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): Sky Sports Football
Last five meetings: Cardiff vs West Brom
5 Oct 2019: West Brom 4-2 Cardiff (Championship)
29 Mar 2014: West Brom 3-3 Cardiff (Premier League)
14 Dec 2013: Cardiff 1-0 West Brom (Premier League)
7 Jan 2012: West Brom 4-2 Cardiff (FA Cup)
16 Feb 2010: Cardiff 1-1 West Brom (Championship)
Aggregate Score: Cardiff (LDWLD) 9-12 West Brom (WDLWD)
Ones to watch
Cardiff: Lee Tomlin
There is still a realistic chance that Cardiff can push for a play-off position, with just seven points separating them from sixth, but Harris will need his more senior players to really step up now and start performing in the second half of the season if those aspirations are to be realised.
And one player who will be vital in that quest is Lee Tomlin. The 31-year-old has been a key component of Cardiff’s campaign, with the attacking midfielder often pulling the creative strings and making things happen in the final third. If the Welsh outfit are to cause an upset on Tuesday evening, then Tomlin will need to be the difference maker.
Key stat: Lee Tomlin has scored more goals (five), registered more assists (six) and created more chances (28) than any other Cardiff player in the Championship this season.
West Brom: Romaine Sawyers
Sawyers was kept on ice over the weekend as West Brom inflicted further woe on West Ham’s disastrous season, and Bilic will be hoping the rest has done wonders for his midfield talisman, who will slot straight back into the starting XI later this week.
The 28-year-old Brummie has been the fulcrum of West Brom’s success this season, with his excellent passing range and composure in the middle of the park allowing the likes of Matheus Pereira and Grady Diangana to wreak havoc further up the pitch.
Key stat: Romaine Sawyers has made more passes (1727) than any other West Brom player in the Championship this season..
Danny Ward, who netted a brace in the reverse fixture earlier this campaign, suffered a concussion against Birmingham last week but is in line to return having missed Saturday’s FA Cup meeting with Reading. Lee Peltier has also been absent with a dead leg but he too is expected to make Harris’ matchday squad.
Elsewhere, Joe Ralls came off with a hip complication against the Royals in the first half over the weekend and he is a major doubt for Tuesday.
Predicted XI: Smithies; Richards, Morrison, Nelson, Bennett; Pack, Bacuna, Whyte, Hoilett, Tomlin; Ward.
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Grady Diangana suffered an injury setback after coming off after only four minutes against Stoke City last week and he is likely to miss this midweek clash. As too will Kieran Gibbs and Nathan Ferguson, who both remain on the treatment tables.
Matheus Pereira will serve the second of his three game suspension, while Semi Ajayi will sit out after picking up a one-match ban against the Hammers.
Predicted XI: Johnstone; Furlong, Hegazy, Bartley, Townsend; Sawyers, Livermore, Phillips, Brunt, Robson-Kanu; Austin.
West Brom have recently hit a snag in their quest for promotion to the promised land, with the chasing pack closing the gap over the past few weeks, so Bilic will be desperate to get back to winning ways when his side travel to Wales.
A win over Premier League opposition is exactly the boost the club needs at the minute and should provide them with enough confidence and impetus to come away from Cardiff with maximum reward.