Positive injury news as Tigers visit the Hawthorns

West Bromwich Albion v Hull City; The Hawthorns, Saturday 4th November 2023, 3pm

The last couple of months have generally brought nothing but bad news for the Albion squad when it comes to injuries, but perhaps things are finally starting to turn around. Following the huge sigh of relief last week when Cédric Kipré’s knee issue proved to be a minor problem, Corberán announced on Friday morning’s pre-match press conference that both Jeremy Sarmiento and Semi Ajayi could be involved in the matchday squad for the visit of Hull City.

Ajayi’s absence has been relatively short and, when Kipré ended up being available, the Nigerian wasn’t missed hugely. Sarmiento, on the other hand, would have been a very useful addition in recent weeks with Josh Maja, Daryl Dike and John Swift all missing – should he get through training successfully on Friday, he will be a great option on the bench.

Saturday’s match is the first of a tough-looking November for the Baggies as they face four of the current top seven either side of the international break, before then meeting the teams currently in 1st and 8th places in the first two games of December. After that half-dozen matches, we will have a much better idea of whether Albion are capable of competing for promotion this season.

However, as many other commentators have pointed out, Corberán’s team should go into this run of games with confidence. Having won four of their last six, including two away wins at sides previously unbeaten on their own patch and five clean sheets, Albion are one of the form teams in the division despite playing with several injuries to key players. If they can keep it up, the Baggies could be a real force when the bulk of their players are back later this month.

Liam Rosenior is enjoying life in his first management post at the KC Stadium and, this season, he should certainly be in the “exceeds expectations” bracket when it comes to the team’s performance. The Tigers are the only side to have taken points off Leicester City this season with their surprise 1-0 win at the King Power Stadium in early September and, after losing their opening game of the season at Carrow Road, they went on an eight-match unbeaten run that saw them in the top four at the end of September. Since then, they went four without a win including defeats to Ipswich Town and Southampton, but back-to-back wins over Birmingham City and Preston North End means that they travel to the Hawthorns with confidence restored.

Rosenior was backed by City’s ambitious owners in the summer with the signing of nine players with the stand-out performer being England U21 international winger, Jaden Philogene, who joined from Aston Villa on deadline day and has registered three goals and four assists this season. The Tigers’ boss announced in his press conference on Thursday that Philogene would be unavailable this weekend due to a minor muscle injury which, if that proves to be the case, would be something of a blow for the Tigers. Rosenior, however, played down the former Villa man’s importance insisting that it would provide opportunities for other players to shine.

Other notable additions include Manchester City striker, Liam Delap, who joined on a season-long loan. Albion were linked with him last season, but he ended up joining Stoke City, unsurprising given his father’s influence, but he had a disappointing season scoring just four times in 38 appearances. This campaign, however, has started much better and he has already matched that goal tally with his fourth goal being the opener in their 2-0 win at St Andrew’s last week. Ahead of him in City’s goalscoring charts is Irish international striker, Aaron Connolly who joined on a permanent deal from Brighton and Hove Albion having spent the second half of last season on loan at the KC Stadium. Three of Connolly’s five goals this season have come from the bench with Delap the preferred central striker, so expect to see him come on if City need a goal late in the game.

Midfielder, Tyler Morton, came in on loan from Liverpool having spent last season on loan at Blackburn Rovers while their new first choice goalkeeper is Ryan Allsop, who moved from Cardiff in the summer. Allsop started his career at the Hawthorns and, while he never made a first team appearance, he was on the bench for the Premier League home win over Wigan Athletic in May 2009 and the first three Championship games of the following season. Meanwhile, Óscar Estupiñán, who grabbed a brace in this fixture last season, left on a loan move to Metz.

I don’t expect too many changes from Monday’s win over Coventry City – perhaps BTA may start if Sarmiento is available on the bench and the other areas where there may be change are in central midfield and right wing back. Pipa did a decent job at the CBS Arena but he’s not an obvious upgrade on Furlong – he is perhaps a bit more attacking in his outlook, but Furlong’s long throw can be a significant weapon albeit it hasn’t been that effective this season. In the middle of the park, Chalobah has started producing consistent performances and I quite liked the central three employed on Monday with Mowatt almost playing in the Swift role.

Coming off the back of successive victories, there isn’t too much that needs changing and, as Corberán often points out, the starting eleven is only one part of the plan – with five substitutes able to be used, it is increasingly becoming a sixteen-man game and those on the bench are just as important as those who start.

It will be interesting to see how Rosenior sets his team up at the Hawthorns, but I would urge all Albion fans to be patient should the Baggies not be leading at half time. We all want an early goal and it can set the tone, but Hull City will be difficult opponents and they are unlikely to roll over, like most Championship teams. What the team needs is support and the Hawthorns crowd can play a massive part.


Last season’s defeat for the Baggies at the KC Stadium came after a run of six successive victories in matches against Hull City. The Tigers have not won at the Hawthorns since October 2008 when Phil Brown’s team, who had been promoted to the Premier League through the play-offs behind Mowbray’s title winning Albion team, were adapting to the top flight better and beat the Baggies 3-0 thanks to goals from Marlon King, Kamil Zayatte and Geovanni.

That is the biggest of just five wins for Hull City at the Hawthorns. They also won the game earlier that year in February 2008 by two goals to one, but you have to back another four decades to their previous success at the Shrine. Arsenal legend, Terry Neill, had taken over as manager at Boothferry Park after he finished his playing career there and in his first season as a manager, his side beat the Baggies 3-2 at the Hawthorns in March 1974, who were managed by another ex-Arsenal player, Don Howe. Almost exactly twelve years later, Howe would replace Neill as manager at Arsenal having joined his coaching staff at Highbury in 1977.

When Steve Bruce’s team earned their first victory of the last campaign in August last year, they beat Hull City 5-2 which is their second biggest victory over the Tigers. For the biggest, we have to go back to the days of two pre-war Albion striking legends. It wasn’t Ginger Richardson but his predecessor as the most prolific Baggies number nine, Jimmy Cookson, who was the star as he scored four goals in a 7-1 victory in April 1930. Tommy Glidden, another of Albion’s greatest goalscorers, scored twice with Harry Boston grabbing the other. Cookson scored 110 goals in his Albion career, which lasted just 131 games in all competitions, while Glidden managed 140 goals at a somewhat more sedate pace, playing a total of 479 games.

Hull City share a somewhat unwanted piece of history with the Baggies as they were the last two clubs to be relegated to the old Third Division. Reorganisation of the league structure meant that only two clubs went down from Division Two in 1990/91 and, of course, the creation of the Premier League in 1992 meant that the old Division Three became Division Two.

Stat Attack

Current Form

Albion W W L D W W
Hull City D L D L W W

All competitions; most recent game on the right

Last matches

Last meeting

3 Mar 2023 – League Championship
Hull City 2 (Tetteh, O’Shea (o.g.))
West Bromwich Albion 0

Last meeting at the Hawthorns

20 Aug 2022 – League Championship
West Bromwich Albion 5 (Elder (o.g.), Swift, Furlong, Grant (pen), O’Shea)
Hull City 2 (Estupiñán (2))

Albion’s Record against Hull City

  Overall   Home
  P W D L F A   P W D L F A
League 58 24 16 18 81 72   29 16 8 5 53 30
FA Cup 3 1 0 2 3 3   1 1 0 0 2 0
League Cup 1 1 0 0 3 2   1 1 0 0 3 2
Other 1 1 0 0 2 1   0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 63 27 16 20 89 78   31 18 8 5 58 32

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