West Brom v Newcastle: Sam Allardyce fearful of a Newcastle backlash

Albion boss Sam Allardyce is wary Newcastle will be galvanised by the media storm currently engulfing them as the relegation rivals lock horns tomorrow.

Sam Allardyce head coach / manager of West Bromwich Albion. (AMA)
Sam Allardyce head coach / manager of West Bromwich Albion. (AMA)

The Baggies host Steve Bruce’s side at The Hawthorns in a match Allardyce is happy to admit has become a must-win fixture for his side.

It’s rare you get a quiet week up in the North East.

But the last seven days at St James’ Park really have been spectacular after a training ground bust-up between Bruce and Matt Ritchie was leaked to the press.

Bruce has described the leak as ‘treason’ and has vowed to find the mole that exists within his camp.

Ritchie allegedly called his manager a ‘coward’ after Bruce criticised him following the draw at Wolves last weekend.

The duo clashed at training on Tuesday, with details of that fight making their way into the press.

Bruce, though, insists rows like that happen all the time and both him and Richie have put it behind him.

And Allardyce expects that to be the case – with Albion’s boss fearing the row will actually motivate Newcastle.

“There has been a disagreement – what’s wrong with that?” Allardyce said.

“I like disagreements. I like people to air their views and argue. It means they care.

“We should speak up for ourselves and not be subservient, if we feel like we’ve been wronged.

“If a player feels his manager is wrong, why not speak up?

“Say what you feel, there’s nothing wrong with it. Then you sort it out, get on with it, it’s forgotten the next day.

“It’s a good thing having disagreements and digging each other out.

“This world is becoming pathetic as far as I’m concerned when it comes to criticism or telling people they’re not showing the right attitude.

“A player telling a manager ‘I think you’re wrong’. What’s wrong with it?

“It should galvanise. People always want to make too much fuss about it, because bad news is good news. They love writing about it, and reporting on it.

“I find it laughable, let’s just put it that way.”

Allardyce has made it abundantly clear he doesn’t think it is right Albion had to play Everton in a rearranged fixture on Thursday, just 60 hours before they host Newcastle.

“The Premier League are helping us to get relegated or trying to get us relegated,” he said at a press conference on Thursday.

Nevertheless, the Baggies will kick off at noon in the North East tomorrow and that means the boss has to field a team of players who can cope with such a quick turnaround.

There are some subtle changes he could make to just to add some fresh legs without impacting on the quality of his starting XI.

Semi Ajayi could return at centre-back having having missed the last two matches. Robert Snodgrass will surely come into the side on the right wing.

And that means Matheus Pereira could move to the left or be rested with Callum Robinson and Karlan Grant both desperate for minutes.

“The question is can these lads now lift themselves again?” Allardyce said when asked about his team selection. “They have to go again against all the odds because Newcastle have not played this week at all.

“It’s a big disadvantage. But I hope the desire and the will of the players – plus the confidence they have gained from recent performances – will see them over the line on Sunday.

“It has to because this is a game where we really have to get three points.”

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