With Albion’s league form giving fans little to be hopeful about, the FA Cup could provide a morale boost if Allardyce’s men beat Blackpool and progress to the next round.
Everybody loves a cup run, and it’s been a long time since the Baggies have taken it seriously.
West Brom often bow out of the Carabao Cup competition prematurely as many regard it as a distraction to what’s most important (the league), but the FA Cup is significantly more prestigious – Allardyce and the board should give it their all this time, just to have something to show for this season, if nothing else.
Team News & Predicted XI
Allardyce has said that he intends to give squad players a chance to show what they can do against Blackpool, so we’re likely to see a heavily rotated side.
Karlan Grant (broken foot) is a definite absentee, whilst Sam Field, Conor Townsend, Kyle Bartley, and Hal Robson-Kanu could make an appearance to develop their match fitness now that they’ve mostly recovered from their injuries.
Charlie Austin is a doubt given the speculation surrounding him regarding a possible move to QPR.
It might be too soon for new signing Robert Snodgrass to make the matchday squad, but a cup fixture could be a good chance for him to prepare for Albion’s next Premier League game.
With Jonathan Bond looking set to move to LA Galaxy, as of writing, David Button appears to be the obvious choice to replace Sam Johnstone in-between the sticks.
A flat back four of Conor Townsend (potentially), Cedric Kipre, Kyle Bartley, and Lee Peltier is likely if Allardyce meant what he said about rotating the side.
In front of the defence we might see Rekeem Harper get his chance to impress Big Sam, whist a midfield four of Kyle Edwards, Conor Gallagher, Jake Livermore, and Kamil Grosicki would provide enough first-team quality to carry any inexperienced players in the squad.
And this one could be a bit of a stretch, but his performances for the U23s warrant a call-up sooner or later: Cheikh Diaby up front. The 20-year-old has five goals in eight appearances for Albion in the PL2 and deserves a chance like every other promising youngster. After all, it would be difficult for him to do any worse than our current crop of forwards.
Albion’s Predicted XI: (4-1-4-1)
Chris Maxwell and Matty Virtue are available for Blackpool after missing the previous two matches following positive coronavirus tests.
They will likely want to cause an upset against the Baggies and can potentially do so here by taking advantage of their dire form.
Allardyce should expect to face nothing less than Blackpool’s strongest side, so will need to be wary that the rotated team he selects can still comfortably compete with the Seasiders’ starting eleven.
Blackpool’s Predicted XI: (4-4-2)
Score Prediction: Blackpool 1-3 West Brom
This is undoubtedly an optimistic prediction given our recent form, but if the Baggies can stick to the game plan Allardyce sets out, then we should — if we really consider ourselves to be a Premier League side — beat Blackpool fairly comfortably.