West Bromwich Albion manager Valerien Ismael has listed belief in their own style and team unity as two key ingredients they will need if they want to overcome Cardiff City tonight, speaking to the club’s media team ahead of this midweek clash.
The Baggies come into this tie having grabbed a late winner against Queens Park Rangers on Friday night, drawing their previous three and looking set to be frustrated again up until Karlan Grant’s 88th-minute winner in what could prove to be crucial for the West Midlands outfit.
With this win and Fulham dropping points again at Bristol City on Saturday afternoon, the Baggies have climbed into the automatic promotion spots and will be hoping to stay there after a bright start to the campaign.
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They face a side who were on the other side of the coin in their last match, being thumped 5-1 at Ewood Park against Blackburn Rovers after a Ben Brereton Diaz hat-trick and suffering three consecutive defeats against Coventry City, AFC Bournemouth and Tony Mowbray’s men.
The Bluebirds will be hoping their home advantage will pay dividends in their quest to stop the rot, although they have only won four points from a possible 12 at the Cardiff City Stadium so far this season.
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West Brom boss Ismael is not underestimating the magnitude of the task his team face though, saying ahead of this clash: “It’s a tough game in front of us.
“We know exactly what to expect from Tuesday’s clash with Cardiff. We know it will be a demanding game in terms of physicality.
“We will focus on our strengths and try to nullify theirs.
“A big part of playing against Cardiff is to have belief in your own style and a real sense of togetherness to help support each other.
“We have a huge desire to win the game.”
When you’re as experienced as Mick McCarthy is, not just managing domestically but also internationally with the Republic of Ireland in the past, you will always have the ability to turn things around and the Baggies will need to match Cardiff’s physicality if they want to come out on top.
The Welsh side’s aerial threat is also considerable and will not just be a defensive asset, but also an offensive threat with the likes of Kieffer Moore, Aden Flint and Sean Morrison all able to get on the end of a cross and make opposition teams pay.
Wales international Moore may be out of sorts at this moment in time, but all he needs is that one goal to give him the confidence to push on and after seeing him score 20 second-tier goals last term, he should still be seen as a big threat by the likes of Kyle Bartley, Semi Ajayi and others.
That battle could prove to be decisive, although it will also be interesting to see what happens at the other end of the pitch and who Ismael picks to start in his front three.
Callum Robinson is pushing for a start after setting up both of Karlan Grant’s goals on Friday night, but who does he come in for? Matt Phillips could be the man to make way, although Grady Diangana’s starting place also isn’t certain.