Carabao Cup: West Brom v Harrogate preview

It’s a competition Albion have every chance of going far in.

Slaven Bilic head coach / manager of West Bromwich Albion.
Slaven Bilic head coach / manager of West Bromwich Albion.

The League Cup may not be as prestigious as it once was.

But winning it should be the aim of all clubs in the Premier League.

And with the Baggies expected to be in a relegation scrap this season, it is a competition that can give fans a lot of joy during the 2020/21 campaign.

Slaven Bilic’s men have already received a bye into the second round.

And tonight they face League Two Harrogate Town – a side who sealed promotion into the Football League for the first time in their history just last month.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the two teams have never met before.

And with the Sulphurites thumping Southend 4-0 in their first EFL outing on Saturday, they will head to The Hawthorns.

For Bilic there are plenty of things to ponder when it comes to his team selection.

Competition rules state, where possible, you have to name your strongest side.

But there are some players who Bilic may feel are just to important to risk tonight.

In defence, Semi Ajayi showed a lot of promise on his Premier League debut against Leicester – with his pace crucial to Albion’s backline.

Jake Livermore’s energy and experience in the middle park will be vital for the Baggies in the top flight too.

While it is well known Bilic’s side will lean heavily on Grady Diangana and Matheus Pereira for creativity this season.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Bilic decided to protect all those players and keep them fresh for Everton on Saturday.

But there are players who played against Leicester who are likely to benefit from a quick return to action.

Bilic – for the first time as Baggies boss – opted for a 3-4-3 system against the Foxes.

It is a formation the players worked on extensively in training.

But you can never truly replicate a match scenario.

Predicted Albion team

And there are some players who could benefit from a bit more time in their new roles.

Romaine Sawyers could do more time getting used to playing in a midfield two in the system.

Callum Robinson is still learning his trade as a central striker.

While Kyle Bartley and Dara O’Shea may be in need of a confidence boost after both conceding penalties on Saturday.

They could be joined in central defence by new recruit Cedric Kipre who was left out the squad for the Leicester game despite joining Albion for £900,000 earlier this month.

However, Ahmed Hegazi will also want game time.

Meanwhile, Rekeem Harper, Kamil Grosicki and Kyle Edwards will also be hoping for a start.

Wideman Matt Phillips, however, is likely to miss out with a minor back problem.

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