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West Brom set to name strong side for Brighton clash

Valerien Ismael says he will name his strongest possible side for tomorrow's FA Cup clash with Brighton – with the boss believing it's important for Albion to test themselves against Premier League opposition.

Albion boss Valerien Ismael (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).
Albion boss Valerien Ismael (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

The Baggies will be without suspended duo Sam Johnstone and Alex Mowatt for the third-round clash after they picked up red cards against Cardiff last weekend.

Loanees Matt Clarke and Jayson Molumby also can't play against their parent club, while new recruit Daryl Dike isn't being considered to allow him to work on his fitness.

Earlier this season, Ismael named a very young side for the League Cup clash against Arsenal.

But the boss has fond memories of the FA Cup – with Ismael making his debut for Crystal Palace in the competition 24 years ago.

And it is competition he is taking seriously this season – even if his main goal is to win promotion to the Premier League.

"We have to make changes but we will play with the strongest team we can," Ismael said.

"The FA Cup is a traditional competition for me. It’s a competition you have to take seriously and that is our purpose.

"We face a Premier League club, a very flexible team, a possession-based team that is able to play a lot of formations.

"But we have all the solutions. For us, it's about ticking the right box at the right moment."

Ismael has made no secret that – ideally – his style of play is based on being an out-of-possession side.

In the Championship that isn't often possible with many sides happy to sit back and let Albion have the ball.

But the boss is looking forward to seeing how his side does against a possession-based Brighton side.

"It’s an important game – it’s against Premier League side and it’s important to see where we are at the minute," the boss continued.

"Our long-term aim is to be an out of possession team with intensity.

"We know Brighton will have a lot of possession so we now have to show how good we are out of possession.

"To compete with a Premier League club is the best thing we can have to give us a picture of where we are to where we want to be."

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