West Brom vs Leeds preview: Championship clash live on Sky Sports Football

West Brom vs Leeds preview: Championship clash live on Sky Sports Football

West Brom v Leeds: Ammunition back to aid Baggies battle

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Having picked up just one point from a possible 12, Albion are low on confidence and supporters are beginning to lose patience.

Meanwhile, Leeds are keeping tabs on Bohemians striker Ali Reghba but Middlesbrough lead the race to sign him ahead of the January window. The 18-year-old is currently on a two-week trial at the Riverside Stadium. (Football Insider)

This team has often looked frail at the back this season, with a jittery backline uncomfortable with their new playmaker roles making individual errors.

The concern is that Marcelo Bielsas high-pressing Leeds side are tailor-made to cause Albion problems.

Leeds United are one of four clubs hoping to sign Alaves winger Ibai Gomez. The 28-year-old is yet to make a decision on his future with SD Eibar, Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao said to be waiting in the wings. (AS)

Derby County showed exactly what a dynamic visiting side to The Hawthorns could achieve. Oddly, being at home could also have a detrimental impact on the Baggies confidence.

Tony Mowbray told his Blackburn side to try and feed off negativity, and with many of those in the stands unsure about the current system, it may not take long for grumbles to surface.

West Bromwich Albion could part with Jay Rodriguez in January with Burnley set to revisit a deal for £18million-rated striker. (Sky Sports)

This is all dependant on Albion continuing on their current trajectory and with their current approach. But Darren Moore and his No.2 Graeme Jones would be wise to deviate away from a model which has started to creak under pressure.

Aston Villa are considering re-naming Villa Park in an attempt to raise cash to meet Financial Fair Play requirements. (Birmingham Mail)

The 3-4-1-2 will leave Albions backline too exposed against tenacious forwards drilled in the Bielsa way, but more important than the formation is an insistence on playing out from the back.

Reading manager Paul Clement says he does not fear Southampton recalling Josh Sims from his loan with the Royals. (football.london)

Its admirable to have such a pure philosophy on how football should be played, but when players have proven incapable of delivering it, something must change.

The danger is that some key returns from injury could give Moore and Jones the ammunition they need to stick with their plan.

Birmingham City youngster Odin Bailey has joined non-league Gloucester City on a one-month youth loan deal.

Dwight Gayle, Kieran Gibbs and Gareth Barry are all expected to return from the sidelines and, if fit enough, are all likely to start.

Without Gayles tenacity, Albion have looked toothless going forward, while Gibbs and Barry offer much-needed composure on the ball further back.

The 20-year-old was pictured with a protective boot on his left leg at the switching on of Leeds Christmas lights last night but a bruised metatarsal is not expected to sideline him beyond this weekend.

Chris Brunt will miss out with a hamstring injury picked up at Hull City and even though Kyle Bartley returns from a one-game suspension, it would be a surprise to see the summer signing back in the line-up against his former team.

Bartley was superb for Leeds in the Championship two seasons ago, but hes struggled so far this term in a system that doesnt suit his traits.

He was missing from Leeds U23s defeat to Crewe Alexandra on Monday and is not expected to feature in Marcelo Bieslas squad at West Brom.

Tosin Adarabioyo, meanwhile, does have the ball-playing skills to be the defensive playmaker Moore and Jones seem to crave and the Manchester City loanee deserves to keep his place in the line-up.

The left-back sustained the injury at the start of this week but is set to resume full training during the international break.

A few weeks ago, this looked like being potentially one of the fixtures of the season, hence why it was picked for live television coverage.

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But with Albion firmly on the ropes, they will settle for going toe-to-toe with Leeds for 12 rounds.

Leeds(3-3-1-3): Peacock-Farrell; Jansson, Phillips, Cooper; Dallas, Forshaw, Douglas; Klich; Hernandez, Roofe, Alioski.

When Marcelo Bielsa was appointed by Leeds United in summer, the general consensus was it would either be a roaring success or a swift disaster.

Known for his intense methods and quirky habits, the former Argentina and Chile manager has been described by Pep Guardiola as the best coach in the world.

So far in Leeds, Bielsa has been a roaring success and he brings his side to The Hawthorns as current league leaders.

Apart from a brief blip in form when they had three key attacking players – Kemar Roofe, Pablo Hernandez and Patrick Bamford – all injured, they have looked the most likely to move away from the pack.

And whereas Albions form could arguably be down to individual moments of brilliance, what makes Bielsas team so special is that it is driven by the collective.

Employing his trademark 3-3-1-3 system honed while managing Chile, the 63-year-old encourages his team to overload one side of the pitch when they attack and swarm all over the opposition when they dont have the ball.

Against a two-man attack, which Albion could play if Dwight Gayle is fit, he has reverted to a flat back four, but the intensity remains.

There is a nagging feeling this could burn out his team later on in the season, particularly because Bielsa is against squad rotation to such a point that he refused to buy more players in summer.

A year later Leeds signed him for a fee which Albion received £1.2million of in sell-ons, but since Bielsa arrived at the club, Roofe has come into his own.

The way Bielsa plays, with the ball on the deck, negates the need for a traditional target man like Chris Wood, the former Albion striker who scored 30 goals for Leeds two seasons ago.

Roofe may be slight, but he is exactly the sort of nippy forward Bielsa wants in his system, and he links up with Pablo Hernandez and Mateusz Klich at speed.

Tyler Roberts deputised well for Roofe when he was injured, netting his first three goals for Leeds since his £2.5m move in January.

Izzy Brown is also on loan at Leeds from Chelsea, although he wont feature due to a long-term knee injury.

Darren Moore: “We will play in different shapes, different formations. Players may play in positions that some deem out of position. You have to be adaptable.”

Paul McShane was sent off, but Albion beat Leeds 4-2 in Sep 2006. Diomansy Kamara (two), Martin Albrechtsen and Kevin Phillips netted.

Star striker Dwight Gayle has been a huge miss in the last two-and-a-half games, but when hes fit and firing, Albion have more than a punchers chance

The former Valencia player is arguably the stand-out individual star in a team focused on the collective.

The 33-year-old winger has been involved in seven goals in his eight league games so far, and Leeds form tailed off during his spell on the treatment table.

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