West Brom are set to face off against Brighton this weekend and despite being desperate to seal a promotion from the Championship this campaign, Valerien Ismael has claimed to the Express and Star that he will play the ‘strongest team they can.’
The Baggies are eager to try and bounce straight back up into the Premier League next season and although they were initially sat in the automatic promotion spots, a lack of goals and results recently have seen them slide into the play-off places.
The club then will be determined to try and storm back into the top two in the second half of the season and will need as many players fit and firing as possible to do so.
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Despite that, it seems as though Valerien Ismael has no intention of rotation or resting of some of his key players in the cup this weekend. The Baggies are set to face off against Brighton, who are going strong in the top tier.
It could be argued that West Brom have more pressing matters to deal with then instead of a cup run – but Ismael is prepared to play the ‘strongest team they can’ in the fixture and that could mean playing some regular first-teamers in the contest.
Speaking to the Express and Star ahead of the game, he said: “We have to make changes but we will play with the strongest team we can. The FA Cup is a traditional competition for me.
“It’s a competition you have to take seriously and that is our purpose.”
It seems then that Ismael has a good cup run in mind – and if he plays a solid first-team unit against Brighton, then they could certainly pull off the win and go further in the competition.
Valerien Ismael may have some pressing matters to deal with in the Championship, with Baggies fans desperate for a promotion, but the boss himself seems eager to try and get a solid cup run going too.
The FA Cup would certainly provide some entertainment on the side and it’s not completely out of the realms of possibility that an unfancied side could go far in the competition either – see Wigan. If Ismael wants to take the competition seriously, then that team could be West Brom this season.
That isn’t a guarantee, as Brighton are a very strong team to have to play off against right now. However, if the club do play a full-strength team, then there is no reason why the Baggies can’t seal an impressive result against the Seagulls.
If the boss can juggle both his league and cup commitments – and have a good run alongside a Championship promotion – then it would prove even more how good the manager is at second tier level too.