Preview: Stoke v West Brom

Roy Hodgson will be seeking his first win as West Bromwich Albion manager in Monday’s English Premier League match against Stoke City.Stoke v West Brom

Hodgson was appointed as West Brom boss on February 11 and has taken charge of two matches to date – both ending in draws.

The first saw West Brom surrender a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 at home to West Ham United, before a late equaliser saw Hodgson’s side salvage a 1-1 draw in their local derby against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

With the side 17th and just one point outside the relegation zone, the pressure continues to mount for West Brom to make progress in their battle to avoid the drop.

And after failing to pick up a win against two of their immediate rivals, the fixture list does not become any kinder.

After Stoke they take travel to fellow strugglers Birmingham, before facing Arsenal, Liverpool, Sunderland, Chelsea and Tottenham.

It is difficult to see where the points will come from during a daunting run against teams from the top third of the table.

History is against West Brom on Monday – they have only beaten Stoke once in the past 22 years and have lost seven out of their last eight league meetings.

“It is a very impressive record and, certainly in my time, we’ve had some fabulous wins over West Brom,” Stoke assistant manager Dave Kemp said.

“But, as you say, that’s in the past, it’s the next one that’s important, not the last one. It’s how we perform and I’m sure if we turn up we’ll give it a go on Monday and we can get the job done.”

The first meeting between the teams this season ended in a comfortable 3-0 win for visitors Stoke at the Hawthorns.

Tony Pulis’ Stoke side have been inconsistent of late, winning just twice in their last six league matches.

They are however unbeaten at home since December 28.

The two managers have close to a full complement of players to choose from, with only Youssouf Mulumbu and Pablo Ibanez out for West Brom and Jonas Olsson doubtful.

Abdoulaye Faye and Matthew Etherington are nearing returns for Stoke, who have only Mamady Sidibe on the long-term injury list.

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