West Bromwich Albion face Derby County on Wednesday evening in a fixture vitally important for both sides: Albion will want the three points to retain an automatic promotion spot, whilst Derby, if Cardiff lose to Blackburn on Tuesday, can enter a play-off place with a victory.

The Baggies have been in top form as of late, with a convincing 3-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday last week and a 4-2 thrashing against Hull City on Sunday.

Derby, too, have begun to show an increase in form, beating Preston 1-0 at the start of the month and then drawing to Nottingham Forest — which did Albion a favour as The Reds were closing in on second place at one stage.

There is everything to play for in this match and both managers know it, so they’ll be thinking long and hard over their team selection, making sure that there are no potential weaknesses for the opposition to exploit and take the upper-hand.


This is the side we predict Slaven Bilic will choose against Derby:

In goal, as per usual, is Sam Johnstone — who hasn’t missed a single minute of Championship action since joining from Manchester United in July 2018. He had an average game against Hull City but made up for any errors with some sublime saves.

Dara O’Shea keeps his place following a string of top-notch performances; alongside him will likely be Semi Ajayi, replacing the suspended Ahmed Hegazi; and on the left side of the defence could be Kyle Bartley and Conor Townsend, who steps in for the injured Kieran Gibbs.

The midfield partnership of Romaine Sawyers and Jake Livermore may return once more, meaning that Rekeem Harper will be dropped to the bench to make way for Captain Fantastico.

Ahead of them sits Filip Krovinovic, flanked by Matheus Pereira, who is in the form of his life right now, and Kamil Grosicki, who bagged a goal against his former club at the weekend.

And lastly, upfront is Charlie Austin; he was the engine of the side against the Tigers and didn’t stop running, ensuring that he defended set-pieces then quickly restored the team’s shape on the counter.