In a fixture dubbed as a six-pointer in the race for promotion to the Premier League, only three points separate fourth-placed West Brom from 5th place Middlesbrough, though a win for the away side won’t be enough for them to swap places with their hosts as West Brom have a much better goal difference.
West Brom are coming into this game on the back of a 0-0 draw at Brighton in the 4th round of FA Cup in midweek in which Baggies manager Darren Moore rested nine of his first-team players.
At least three of the changes were forced, as the likes of midfielder Gareth Barry, striker Jay Rodriguez, and centre-back Ahmed Hegazi were injured.
The three of them return to the starting XI on Saturday, though two players who miss out are winger Matt Philips and midfielder James Morrison due to their respective ankle injuries.
West Brom completed the loan signings of Boro target Jacob Murphy from Newcastle, along with midfielders Stefan Johansen and Jefferson Montero. Both Murphy and Montero feature on the bench for West Brom today.
Middlesbrough Team News
Unhappy on the lack of transfer activity during the January transfer window, Boro manager Tony Pulis might be happy to note that his team have no fresh injury problems coming into this fixture.
“We’re disappointed that we’ve not brought one or two targets in, but we’ve got to get on with it,” said Tony Pulis.
“The players have been fantastic this year and we’ve got to get them at it, and that they’re really motivated from now until the end of the season.”
Pulis is no stranger when it comes to West Brom manager Darren Moore, as the Baggies boss was his captain back when Pulis managed Portsmouth.
“Darren Moore is one person in football you’d love to succeed,” he said.
“He’s got a fantastic demeanour, and I have the utmost respect for his as a football man and a family man.”
Former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel makes his first full start in the Championship, with Ryan Shotton coming back from injury in midweek to return to the starting line up.