WELLBET

It was this exact fixture at the start of last November that kick-started Albion’s campaign.


James Morrison and Matt Phillips scored in a 2-1 victory that ended a five-game winless streak in the league and sent the Baggies on a brilliant run through the middle part of the season.

Nearly 12 months on, Tony Pulis returns to the King Power Stadium on the back of another five-game winless streak in the league.

One that is slowly but surely, starting to put pressure on him.

Pulis needs another victory, preferably one that lights the touch paper all over again. But he has faith in his methods, and what he has planned for this team.

“We haven’t had the breaks,” he said, in response to questions over form. “There’s such a thin line between success and failure.

“You’ve got to keep going and keep believing in what you’re doing and hopefully things will turn. We haven’t had decisions I think we should have had, which adds to it.

“It doesn’t mean we haven’t been doing good things on the pitch.”

It’s true that Albion have been on the receiving end of some unhelpful decisions in their last two games against Arsenal and Watford, which might have yielded more than one point.

But while there may have been promising performances from new faces, the team is yet to string together a convincing 90-minute display so far this season.

The big question over Pulis and whether he can get this new-look and improved squad playing exciting and winning football is yet to be answered.

“We still haven’t had all the players available this season that we’d have liked to have pick from,” he responded. “I have something in my mind that I think will suit everybody, with five at the back and four at the back.

“With the squad we’ve got now we can be that flexible.

“We’ve done bits and pieces on the training ground with it, players have linked well.

“It’s just waiting for (Oliver) Burke and (Nacer) Chadli to come back and try and fit them in.”

Chadli is one of four doubts for the game, despite playing 90 minutes for Belgium last week.

He had a pre-planned injection in his lower back, and will be assessed today alongside Hal Robson-Kanu and Morrison, who both picked up muscle strains on international duty.

Robson-Kanu’s niggle coupled with the extra two days to prepare means Salomon Rondon is likely to start after his first home goal in 2017 last time out. However, the biggest worry is over goalkeeper Ben Foster, who reported a knee problem in training on Thursday.

Recent history is on the Baggies’ side.

Not only have Albion never lost at the King Power Stadium, they’re unbeaten in Leicester since January 1994.

But a draw will only placate the fans if it’s accompanied with a promising performance.

At some point, this team needs to start clicking, and winning.

Likely line-up: Myhill, Gibbs, Evans, Hegazi, Dawson, Krychowiak, Barry, Phillips, McClean, Rodriguez, Rondon.

Key man: Jay Rodriguez – Started the season brightly but has blown hot and cold. Dangerous at Arsenal, anonymous against Watford, could use a goal.

Danger man: Jamie Vardy – Leicester may not have picked up many points from a difficult start but Vardy has been banging them in for fun.

Five goals from the first seven games suggests he has rediscovered his red-hot form of two seasons ago and his pace has hurt Albion in the past.

Evans and co will need to have their wits about them.

 

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