West Bromwich Albion play host to Blackburn Rovers on Monday night looking to end a run of three successive defeats in the Championship.
At a time when the Baggies have dropped outside of the playoffs, Blackburn are now in third position after failing to win any of their last three fixtures.
While Steve Bruce would have had high hopes of getting his West Brom reign off to a winning start, the size of his job became apparent to him as the Baggies went down 2-0 at Sheffield United.
West Brom were not helped by the sending off of Jake Livermore, but the end result was a third successive 2-0 defeat, extending a run of just one win from nine matches in all competitions.
The schedule gets no easier for Bruce and his squad with another three promotion rivals to come in succession, but there is an argument that West Brom will only remain in the playoff picture if they can collect points in such games.
Bruce must find a solution to his team’s lack of goals during the first half of matches, the West Midlands outfit last netting in the opening 45 minutes all the way back on December 4.
Leading marksman Karlan Grant has netted just once in his last nine outings, while none of his teammates have contributed more than five goals in the league this season.
While they still sit in third position in the table, Rovers will be deemed as a threat to the top two, but Tony Mowbray will have concerns about the recent progression of his team.
Although eight points have been collected from seven games in 2022, Rovers have lost their last two matches and failed to net in their last three.
At a time when they have played more fixtures than many of their promotion rivals, it is a worrying trend, and the North-West outfit realistically require all three points at The Hawthorns to keep the pressure on Fulham and Bournemnouth.
Nevertheless, they may be placing more attention on simply remaining in the playoffs, and ninth-placed West Brom only sit eight points adrift of Blackburn while also possessing a match in hand.
Top goalscorer Ben Brereton Diaz has failed to contribute a goal during his last five outings in all competitions.
West Bromwich Albion Championship form:
West Bromwich Albion form (all competitions):
Blackburn Rovers Championship form:
We say: West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Blackburn Rovers
All things considered, both clubs can ill-afford another game without success if they want to last the pace in their respective battles. However, confidence is diminishing in the two camps, and a hard-fought draw is the most likely outcome.