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It has been a hugely disappointing few weeks for West Bromwich Albion, with the chasing pack gaining ground on the Championship league leaders.
The Baggies have won just one of previous eight league matches and the gap between themselves and third has been cut to just three points.
After threatening to create an even bigger lead at the top of the table, Albion’s bid for automatic promotion has hit a slump at a vital stage of the season.
To make matters worse, West Brom will be without one of their most influential players in Matheus Pereira for the next three games against Cardiff City, Luton Town and Millwall.
The Brazilian was adjudged to have elbowed Joe Allen in the 1-0 defeat to Stoke City on Monday night – the Baggies have accepted the charge, after it was spotted on video post-match.
This is undoubtedly a big blow for the Baggies as they look to return to winning ways as soon as possible, with Pereira establishing himself as one of the most creative players in the league this term.
The 23-year-old has scored five goals and produced 10 assists this season, but now, there will be players looking to step up and fill in for Pereira in these next few games.
Can you get 11 out of 11 on this West Brom quiz?
Rekeem Harper will be desperate to make an impression under Slaven Bilic, and the 19-year-old should use Pereira’s ban as a real opportunity to impress Bilic for one last time.
You feel that time is running out for Harper to make an impact under Bilic at The Hawthorns – the midfielder has been linked with moves away, having found game time hard to come by this term.
Harper was a key player under Darren Moore and Jimmy Shan last season as the Baggies narrowly missed out on promotion, making 23 appearances in all competitions.
The Baggies almost lost him at the end of last season, too, with Celtic among those linked with a move for the midfielder who was set to be out of contract in the summer.
Harper remained at The Hawthorns, but he has since made only one appearance for Albion in the Championship this season, on the opening day against Nottingham Forest.
There has been a talk of a potential loan move away this month, but Harper will undoubtedly be keen to stay and be determined to push higher up the pecking order.
There is a gap to be filled in the middle of the park, and whilst he may not have the skill and talent Pereira possesses on the ball, he does the endeavour and work-rate in the middle of the park.