West Brom will look to consolidate their position in the Championship automatic promotion places when they welcome West Midlands rivals Birmingham to the Hawthorns on Friday at 8pm (UK time).
Summer appointment Valerien Ismael has made a strong start to his tenure as West Brom manager, with the recently-demoted side currently second in the Championship table and just three points off current pace-setter Bournemouth. Birmingham meanwhile are 16th and winless in five, so the emphasis to pick up a result here is huge for Lee Bowyer.
How to live stream West Brom vs Birmingham online:
Friday’s game between West Brom and Birmingham is on bet365’s live-stream schedule for readers with an account. Those without a bet365 account who are over 18 and Gamble Aware need only follow three simple steps to watch West Brom vs Birmingham online*:
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Where to watch West Brom vs Birmingham on TV:
- UK: Sky Sports Football
- US: ESPN+
Scoreline prediction: West Brom 2-1 Birmingham
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West Brom vs Birmingham build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
The Baggies bounced back to the Premier League after two seasons slogging it out in the Championship the last time they suffered top-flight relegation, but tactical tier two firebrand Ismael will be hoping to fare one better this time. The former Barnsley tactician has implemented a wing-back system otherwise unheard of at the Hawthorns down the years, and the West Midlands club are reaping the rewards of that system tweak, with his side currently second.
Birmingham are also getting to grips under new stewardship, with former midfielder Bowyer holding the reins at the St Andrew’s after replacing Aitor Karanka in March. However, the ex-Charlton boss hasn’t enjoyed the same success of his coeval in the opposite dugout. The Blues started the campaign having suffered just one defeat in their opening six matches, but the wheels have started to come off, and Bowyer could really do with a statement result here to stem the tide.
- West Brom (vs Stoke): Johnstone; Ajayi, Bartley, Townsend; Furlong, Livermore, Mowatt, Reach; Robinson, Grant; Hugill.
- Birmingham (vs Nottingham Forest): Sarkic; Roberts, Dean, Pedersen; Colin, Woods, Sunjic, Bela; Chong, Hogan, Jutkiewicz.
Dara O’Shea is a long-term absentee for the Baggies and not expected back until 2022 with a fractured ankle. He is joined on the treatment tables with 18-year-old Rico Richards, while Birmingham have no major injury issues to contend with at present.
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Player to watch: Alex Mowatt (West Brom)
The one-time Leeds United Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year has enjoyed a blistering start at the Hawthorns and could be the key catalyst for West Brom in their efforts to bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. The double-jointed playmaker reinvented himself at Barnsley under Ismael after falling out of favour at Elland Road, and the minute his former coach relocated to the Baggies, he quickly joined him through the West Midlands door. A tricky, deft midfield maestro, the 26-year-old has already helped himself to three goals and one assist, while he has also created 15 chances, a stat bettered only by attacking full-backs Conor Townsend (16) and Darnell Furlong (20), with the emphasis in Ismael’s system to get the wing-backs up the pitch. Mowatt’s ingenuity and creativity in the middle of the park will give West Brom a central option to penetrate and unlock doors, rather than an over-reliance on continual exploitation from the flanks, as tried and tested with distinction for Barnsley.
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