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Slaven Bilic planning changes to West Brom team for home match with Reading

By Matt Wilson | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

Slaven Bilic is planning to make changes to his line-up tomorrow night with both Grady Diangana and Charlie Austin pushing for starts.

Slaven Bilic has named an unchanged line-up in the league so far. (AMA)

Bilic has named the same starting XI for the first three league games of the season, and has earned seven points out of a possible nine.

Despite that unbeaten start, he is set to reward those who made an impact off the bench against Luton on Saturday and impressed in the Carabao Cup.

Diangana, Austin and Matheus Pereira are all under consideration for a starting place after substitute appearances at Kenilworth Road.

Diangana grabbed two goals in six minutes, while Austin hit the post. Pereira also looked lively on the wing.

"We are considering making a few changes for a few reasons," said Bilic. "The main reason is I have a good squad, and although we didn’t win the Cup game, a lot of players played really good football there and we want to use them.

"The other reason is to give some players a bit of a rest because we have two games in three days basically and considering we’ve already played one game a few days ago, that’s what we are thinking.

"It was the players that came from the bench [against Luton] that gave us that impulse we really needed in the last third, and that’s also one of the reasons we are considering making a few changes."

Bilic will be careful not to make too many changes to his team, because his deadline day signings are still not completely up to scratch.

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But he's also aware they have now reached a level of fitness that requires competitive games rather than training.

When asked if Austin and Pereira were ready to start a Championship game, he said: "If you think about how they played in 20 minutes or half an hour then they are ready of course, but 90 minutes is a bit different.

"They are not match, match fit like the guys who started pre-season, definitely not, but it doesn’t matter.

"The problem occurs when you put a few of them in at the same time, start three of four of them, then you see they are lacking match fitness.

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"They are fit enough to be put in individually and in pairs. They are fit enough when surrounded by the players who are fit properly.

"They are fit enough now and they will not get fitter by only training, they have to play, that’s why we call it match fitness. Training helps, but you need competitive matches to be match fit."

Chris Willock, Albion's fourth deadline day signing who is yet to be seen in the senior team, played for the under-23s last night in a 3-1 win over Fulham.

Rayhaan Tulloch, Nick Clayton-Phillips and Jamie Soule all scored.

Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson
Football MMPJ - @mattwilson_star

Sports reporter at the Express & Star, who primarily covers West Bromwich Albion.

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