Huddersfield v West Brom preview: Steve Bruce hasn't got the headache he wanted for Terriers trip

Steve Bruce would have had a fairly concrete idea of his Albion team to face Huddersfield prior to Tuesday’s limp cup exit at lower league Derby.

Steve Bruce reacts and puts his head in his hands during the Carabao Cup Second Round match between Derby County and West Bromwich Albion at Pride Park Stadium on August 23, 2022 in Derby, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).
Steve Bruce reacts and puts his head in his hands during the Carabao Cup Second Round match between Derby County and West Bromwich Albion at Pride Park Stadium on August 23, 2022 in Derby, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

It is unlikely that the manager will be inclined to make any adjustments to the side that thrashed five past Hull last weekend.

Bruce would, however, have definitely welcomed a selection headache or two on the back of a vibrant, busy and encouraging display at Pride Park in the Carabao Cup – but what he witnessed in the east Midlands was underwhelming at best.

Albion’s second string did their Championship prospects no favours with a meek display against the Rams. After a telling pause, Bruce used the words ‘question mark’ in summing up his supporting cast’s efforts.

Tomorrow’s trip to the John Smith’s Stadium in West Yorkshire is important at this early stage of the season for Albion. The much-changed hosts have not started well and are third-bottom with just one win from four.

But more pertinently, Bruce’s side will be keen to show that last week’s somewhat unexpected 5-2 blowing away of Hull was not a flash in the pan.

Not all of the manager’s 10 changes at Derby – only Dara O’Shea, skipper last weekend, stayed in – had a realistic shot of putting themselves in contention to face the Terriers.

For teenagers Ethan Ingram, Zac Ashworth, Reyes Cleary and Tom Fellows, who replaced Ingram after a tough first half, it was about experience of the senior game.

But for those around them well-versed in senior football it was a night to forget. They can hardly have any complaints about being named on the bench against Danny Schofield’s side.

Due to the thin nature of Albion’s squad, however, it is still true that Callum Robinson, Matty Phillips, Jake Livermore, Adam Reach, Taylor Gardner-Hickman and Kyle Bartley will all be required either tomorrow or in the coming weeks and months.

Club captain Livermore, 32, knows the Baggies need to start well. Bruce’s men conceded first in the opening three Championship games. The two outings since, including a drab 0-0 against Cardiff, have yielded four points.

“The first goal is vital for us and the way we play as well, and how teams play against us,” Livermore said. “We’ve shown some good character earlier this season, and we’re going to have to show it again – which is fine.

“We’re concentrating on the league now, we’ve got a huge game, a huge month coming up and everyone will be raring to go and pushing one another.”

He added: “I’m sure the manager will dress us up as needed to be and the lads are raring to go.

“We’ve had some good performances this season and been on the end of a few results which could’ve gone either way, where perhaps we could’ve deserved a win.”

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