Roberto Di Matteo is confident that his West Brom team will bounce back against Sunderland this weekend, especially Goalkeeper Scott Carson and defender Jonas Olsson. Carson made an error leading to Chelsea’s first in the opening day clash while Olsson was left on the bench.
The manager admitted that is was a tough decision to make, leaving Olsson out of the team: “It was very difficult for me because he is a very good player for us, It wasn’t easy at all. But I have to make decisions and we can only play with XI. He has been training well and he is a strong character so we will see what happens on Saturday.” Di Matteo also showed faith in his No 1 ‘keeper: “He is a strong character and I am sure he will want to make it up to them and everybody. When a goalkeeper makes a mistake then most of the time it’s a goal, but he made a lot of saves for us last season and won us a lot of points and I’m sure he will pay us back. He is a strong character so I am sure he will bounce back. He will be okay.”
Di Matteo is also hoping to extend West Brom’s unbeaten home record. It was January when the Baggies last lost at on their own patch and although the boss knows the job will be harder he this season, is hoping the fans can play their part: “The supporters can make it easier against Sunderland. Our fans have been magnificent, all last year, since I have been here they’ve been fantastic. I think we have repaid them as well with some great games, and results last season.”
Marek Cech is welcoming the competition from Nicky Shorey for the left-back spot. After starting against Chelsea, Cech is looking forward to keeping the position: “Nicky hadn’t had much time to train with us before Saturday’s game so the gaffer took the decision to play me,” said the Slovakia international. “I want to play and enjoy my football like I did throughout my life. From last season, I know the gaffer picks the team on how players are looking in training and each player must fight for their position. I feel happy about things.” Cech also hopes that West Brom can recover against Sunderland: “I hope our team will show on Saturday we are good enough to be in the Premier League. I hope we will be as dangerous as we were in the Championship.”
The Baggies look set to sign Nigerian forward Peter Odemwingie on a three-year-deal from Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow. The striker is awaiting a work permit before completing his move to the Baggies after passing a medical.
“I couldn’t refuse the chance to play in the Premier League,” said Odemwingie, adding: “The players talked about England in a good way so once this opportunity presented itself, I simply asked Lokomotiv to consider it and these are the opportunities you hope for when you decide to become a footballer. This is the next chapter of my career.” Di Matteo is hoping that the work permit can be in place before Tuesday’s trip to Leyton Orient.
West Brom have also moved closer to the signing of Cameroon international Somen Tchoyi. The midfielder has undergone his medical as he looks to seal a move from Red Bull Salzburg. Another transfer in the Baggies camp is Reuben Reid going to Walsall on loan. The winger will play for the Saddlers until January. Reid has already had loan deals with Rotherham and Peterborough.
The signings of Odemwingie and Tchoyi cannot come quick enough for the Baggies as Ishamael Miller and Joe Mattock were ruled out for up to a month. Both players picked up the injuries in training with Mattock twisting his ankle and Miller straining his thigh. Di Matteo said: “It’s unfortunate that we’ve had two players pick up injuries this week. Right now, we believe it is going to be between three to four weeks for both players.”