Opposition Focus: West Brom


Image: Sky Sports

Matt Wiggins spoke to Dan Watts from Baggies Facts to get a West Brom perspective ahead of Monday nights six pointer at the Cottage…

Fulham vs West Brom, what comes to mind when you think of this fixture from years gone by?

I talked about Inamoto and his brilliant strike for Albion at Craven Cottage when I spoke to you guys last season. That will always spring to mind! Our last meeting ended 0-0 at The Hawthorns, hopefully we don’t get a repeat.

Last season saw you promoted automatically under Slaven Bilic, do you think he’s the right man to guide you to safety this season?

Absolutely. And it’s a good question to ask with so much having been said about him not being backed by the board enough over the summer and more recently having players sold behind his back. Trust in Slav. The man deserves nothing but full backing from fans and his bosses alike, after getting last seasons squad promoted at his first attempt.

Given that we are likely to be two of the clubs struggling for survival most of the season, how important is this game or is it too early to get into that mentality?

Massively important. Every game is, but for teams that know they could well be in amongst it at the bottom, we need to go in to these kind of games with the right mentality and pick up positive results. Both teams yet to win, we’ll both target this game as win number one.

You managed to secure the permanent signings of Grady Diangana and Mattheus Pereira over the summer. Are you happy with your business in the transfer window?

We added seven permanent signings and three of those were at the club on loan last season. Of the other four, one is a new substitute goalkeeper and another is Cedric Kipre at centre-half, who probably isn’t quite ready for Premier League football yet. The promising Karlan Grant and veteran defender Branislav Ivanovic really need to step up and be as good as they can be. Overall, our squad probably doesn’t have enough strength in depth, Slaven Bilic didn’t get as many signings in as he would have wanted and so at that, we could have done better behind the scenes. We’ll see!

There are a number of players to have played for both sides with the standout ones being the likes of Geoff Horsfield and Zoltan Gera. Which player to have played for both stands out for you and why?

It has to be the man you mention, Zoltan Gera. Albion and Fulham fans alike will be aware just how good he was. So many brilliant strikes and always gave absolutely everything. He appreciated what the game had given him. Love the bloke!

If there was one Fulham player you could have in your team who would it be and why?

For me it would be Alphonse Areola. A brilliant goalkeeper who I’ve enjoyed watching whenever I’ve seen him. You’ve done fantastically in well in bagging a player of that calibre. A mention for Lookman too, looks very hit and miss, but when it’s a hit, he could be a game changer.

What are your Top 4 and Bottom 3 predictions?

In no particular order…

Top four: Man City, Liverpool, Spurs, Everton.

Bottom three: Albion, Fulham, Burnley.

Of course, I’d love the Baggies to stay up, and it may well happen, but trying to be objective, I’ve gone with my head rather my heart!

How do you see the game panning out?

I think it’ll be a tight and edgy encounter. Pressure could play a part. Hopefully we’ll still see some goals. I’m going for a 2-2 draw, but with the hope of winning by the odd goal.

Thanks to Dan Watts from Baggies Facts for answering our questions.