Tony Pulis will take charge of West Bromwich Albion for the first time in the Premier League as they take on Hull City, another side lying narrowly above the bottom three.
The former Stoke City and Crystal Palace boss earned a comfortable winning start to his reign as the Baggies hit seven past Conference outfit Gateshead in the FA Cup, with Saido Berahino hitting four with some classy finishing. Keeping him will be crucial to the club’s fortunes.
It was also the 21-year-old who rescued a point in their last Premier League outing at West Ham United, a result which keeps their heads above the water for now. However, wins are needed quickly, particularly with a daunting run-in to come in the final weeks of the season.
Hull were deep within the mire heading into Christmas, but two wins out of three have improved their position considerably coming into this one. That said, this remains a crucial clash, with only two points separating them from the relegation zone at present.
The manner of their FA Cup defeat at Arsenal suggests that manager Steve Bruce’s priority this season is to ensure Premier League survival, and the Tigers seem to have regained an attacking impetus, especially seeing the way they saw off Everton on New Year’s Day
West Brom are hopeful over the fitness of midfielders Craig Gardner and Graham Dorrans, but are definitely without Jonas Olsson, Jason Davidson and Youssouf Mulumbu. The latter two are on international duty.
The away side should have James Chester and Nikica Jelavic available, but are unable to call upon Mohamed Diame, Liam Rosenior, Gaston Ramirez and Robert Snodgrass.
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