Sam Allardyce: West Brom's foreign contingent ‘know what derby means’

Sam Allardyce says it’s a myth foreign players do not understand the importance of derbies as Albion prepare to lock horns with rivals Wolves.

West Bromwich Albion's Matheus Pereira celebrates
West Bromwich Albion's Matheus Pereira celebrates

The Baggies host Nuno Espirito Santo’s side at The Hawthorns on Monday looking to claim their second Black Country derby win of the season.

With his team nine points from safety with just five games remaining, Allardyce knows the match represents a huge opportunity to restore some pride in a campaign where there has been little to cheer.

Key to his side’s hopes will be players from the continent with Turkey’s Okay Yokuslu, Senegal’s Mbaye Diagne and Brazil’s Matheus Pereira all hoping to play starring roles.

Wolves too will have a team filled with players from abroad, with Conor Coady likely to be the only Englishman in their starting line-up. But while the majority of the players haven’t grown up locally, Dudley-born Allardyce insists everyone on the field will know exactly what the game means to fans watching at home.

“This is a Black Country derby and I can assure you we will be doing everything we can to win it.” the 66-year-old said. “The manager, the players – contrary to people saying: ‘where do they come from’, ‘they don’t understand it’ – yes, they do understand it.

“When they are abroad they play in their own local derbies.

“And when they come here in the Premier League, every player tells them what a derby means. Every press officer will tell the players what a derby means.

“Wolves have got their pride to play for. We have our pride to play for and we are ready for another massive derby.”

Meanwhile, Albion have confirmed details of a ballot to allow fans to apply for tickets for the penultimate game of the season against West Ham will be published in the coming days.

The match has been rescheduled to take place on either Tuesday, May 18, or Wednesday, May 19.

That means if the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown reaches step three as planned – fans will be able to return to The Hawthorns for the first time this season.

Confirmation from the Government is expected no later than Monday.

If given the green light, a limited number of Albion fans will be able to attend the clash against the Hammers.

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