Sky Sports pundit Lee Hendrie has admitted that he believes that West Bromwich Albion may have benefitted from the timing of the latest international break.
After initially making a positive start to their return to the Championship, the Baggies have recently struggled with their consistency in this division.
During their last five league fixtures, West Brom have only managed to accumulate seven points.
Having suffered defeats to Fulham and Swansea City last month, the Baggies will now need to step up to the mark in order to keep pace with leaders AFC Bournemouth.
Following an underwhelming performance in their clash with Middlesbrough before the international break, it will be intriguing to see whether West Brom are able to deliver a response to this 1-1 draw in their showdown with Huddersfield Town this weekend.
When you consider that the Terriers are currently eighth in the Championship standings, the Baggies know that they could be in for a tough afternoon at the John Smith’s Stadium if they fail to produce their very best in this fixture.
Ahead of this clash, Hendrie has admitted that he believes West Brom will need to beat Huddersfield and Blackpool in their next two games if they are to challenge Fulham and Bournemouth for promotion this season.
Speaking on the latest episode of the Sky Sports EFL Podcast, Hendrie said: “If they are going to stay on the coattails of Fulham and Bournemouth, you do feel that having this international break certainly would have helped them.
“Whether they’ve got that dimension of tweaking a few things going into the games.
“But two really big games, I think if you start not getting points, not getting results against the likes of Huddersfield which you feel that these games are certainly winnable games, you start to feel it is going to be Fulham and Bournemouth [that achieve automatic promotion].
“It’s certainly heading in that direction so having that little bit of a break it might galvanise the lads, the group and obviously there are things to work on going forward.”
Although West Brom are only six points adrift of Fulham who currently occupy the second automatic promotion spot in the Championship, manager Valerien Ismael will know that his side will need to improve if they are to keep in touch with their rivals.
Set to face a Huddersfield side who have won five of their eight home league games this season, the Baggies may need to turn to Karlan Grant for inspiration in this particular fixture.
A stand-out performer for West Brom during the current campaign, the 24-year-old has already managed to find the back on eight occasions in the Championship whilst he has also chipped in with two assists.
Having sealed a move from Huddersfield to West Brom last year, Grant will be determined to mark his return to the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday by adding to his goal tally.
If the Baggies seal victory in this clash, they could use the confidence gained from this result to push on in the Championship over the Christmas period.