Express & Star

Plymouth v West Brom: Albion need to fix their form on the road

Conor Townsend admits now is the time for Albion to fix their away form as they look to maintain their play-off challenge on the road.


The Baggies head to Plymouth tonight before travelling to fellow top-six contenders Hull on Saturday.

Carlos Corberan’s men play five of their next seven matches away from The Hawthorns, during what is likely to be a critical period for a team who have struggled for consistent performances and results on their travels.

Albion have taken just 16 points from 15 away league matches, winning only four – their most recent victory coming at bottom of the table Rotherham on December 12.

With the play-off race only likely to get tighter and more fraught as the season approaches the final run-in, Townsend knows those are the kind of statistics which needs to improve.

“If you want to change that (away form) then now is obviously the right time to do it,” he said. “We’ve got some tough games coming up, there’s no doubt about that, Plymouth are a good team and then we’ve got Hull.

“But on our day we’re a match for anyone in this league and we need to make sure we are ready for it and come away with a positive result.”

Albion are fifth in the table but Coventry, Norwich and Hull all sit just a point behind after wins over the weekend, with the Baggies having been beaten 2-0 at home by Southampton on Friday night.

Tonight’s match at Plymouth, who are winless in three Championship matches, offers the chance to restore some breathing space ahead of a play-off race six-pointer at Hull City.

It is Albion’s first visit to Home Park since February 2010, when a Simon Cox goal was enough to earn Roberto Di Matteo’s promotion-chasing team a 1-0 victory.

A similar result would be most welcome tonight though the Pilgrims, promoted from League One last season, have proven stubborn opponents on their own patch, with Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Leeds just their fourth home loss of the campaign.

They are also one of only three second tier teams to have prevented the Baggies from scoring at The Hawthorns this term, having held Corberan’s men to a frustrating 0-0 draw in October’s reverse fixture.

Albion had scored in every home fixture since until being blanked by the Saints on Friday night.

While that result felt a major anti-climax following the wave of euphoria which greeted news of Shilen Patel’s prospective takeover, Townsend expects players to quickly refocus for the important week ahead.

“We know what we can do against any team in this division when we are on it,” he continued.

“It was one of those on Friday where it wasn’t our night, but Plymouth’s our game in hand, everyone knows that, we need to go with a fresh mind and try to get the win.”

Albion will welcome back Andi Weimann after the striker missed Friday’s defeat through illness.