West Bromwich Albion

The Lowdown: Sam Allardyce's West Bromwich Albion

West Bromwich Albion visit King Power Stadium this Thursday evening, facing Leicester City on matchday 32 of the 2020/21 Premier League season (8pm kick-off).
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The Baggies are fighting to avoid an immediate return to the second tier having won promotion as Sky Bet Championship runners-up last season. Ahead of their midweek trip across the Midlands, which will be the two teams' 116th competitive meeting since 1901, LCFC.com looks at Sam Allardyce's men...

The squad

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Matheus Pereira
Matheus Pereira

Top scorer Matheus Pereira has emerged as a key figure for the Baggies this season.

West Brom's survival hopes were boosted by a host of January arrivals, including the loan signing of Arsenal utility man Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Celta Vigo midfielder Okay Yokuslu, who have both since made nine appearances for the club.

Wideman Robert Snodgrass also came in from West Ham United, as did goalkeeper Andy Longeran, while Senegalese forward Mbaye Diagne completed a temporary switch from Galatasaray and has scored twice in 10 Premier League games.

The permanent summer signings of 2019/20 loan stars Matheus Pereira (Sporting CP) and Grady Diangana (West Ham United) - who both scored eight goals last campaign - have proved to be a success.

Pereira has netted another eight in the top flight so far this term and is the Baggies' top scorer. He also tops Albion's assist chart, registering five in 27 games.

Darnell Furlong is the only outfield player to have featured more times in the Premier League than the Brazilian this season, while goalkeeper Sam Johnstone has started all but one of West Brom's 31 league fixtures to date.

Republic of Ireland international Callum Robinson, who returned to the club from Sheffield United following a successful loan spell, has five goals to his name.

David Button (Brighton & Hove Albion) also joined in the summer, while Foxes fans will recognise former Academy star Cédric Kipré, who was recruited from Wigan Athletic.

High-profile summer departures included Chris Brunt (Bristol City), former Leicester City full-back Lee Peltier (free) and Gareth Barry (retired), the Premier League's highest-ever appearance-maker.

The manager

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Sam Allardyce
Sam Allardyce

Sam Allardyce has enjoyed a long and successful managerial career at several Premier League clubs.

Experienced manager Sam Allardyce replaced Slaven Bilić at West Brom in December 2020, with the club 19th in the Premier League table, tasked with keeping the club in the top division.

Following a 21-year playing career spent mostly in the English Football League at the likes of Bolton Wanderers, Millwall and Preston North End, Allardyce took the role of caretaker manager at Deepdale in 1992, after a short stint as Limerick's player-manager in Ireland, where he won the League of Ireland First Division.

His first permanent management job also came in the North West, at Blackpool, enjoying a two-year spell before guiding Notts County to the Third Division title in 1997/98.

Then came arguably his most successful management period, in charge of Bolton Wanderers, for whom Allardyce had made over 200 appearances across two spells as a player.

Taking over in 1999, the Trotters were promoted to the Premier League via the play offs in 2001. He would soon guide the club to a League Cup Final in 2004 and UEFA Cup qualification, taking on Bayern Munich in the competition, while also securing top flight football for six consecutive seasons.

A short spell at Newcastle United was followed by maintaining relegation-threatened Blackburn Rovers' Premier League status during his two-year stint at Ewood Park between 2008 and 2010.

Allardyce sealed another Championship promotion in 2012, this time with West Ham United and enjoyed four years at Upton Park. Sunderland were also saved from the drop at the end of the 2015/16 Premier League campaign, despite spending most of the season in the bottom three.

His one game in charge of England in 2016 was followed by keeping Crystal Palace in the top flight during a single season with the south London club.

Then came six months at Everton during 2017/18, taking over with the Toffees sitting 13th in the table and ending the season in eighth position - his final role before agreeing to join West Brom.

Form guide

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Callum Robinson
Callum Robinson

Republic of Ireland forward Callum Robinson celebrates scoring his side's third goal in the recent win over Southampton.

The Midlanders arrive on Filbert Way having won back-to-back Premier League games at the start of April, beating Chelsea 5-2 to inflict Thomas Tuchel's first defeat, before a 3-0 home victory over Southampton at the weekend.

Matheus Pereira and Callum Robinson were both on the scoresheet in each game, netting braces at Stamford Bridge ahead of also finding the net against the Saints. The Baggies currently sit 19th in the table, nine points adrift of 17th-placed Burnley with a game in hand to play.

Previous encounters

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Timothy Castagne
Timothy Castagne

It was a debut to remember at the Hawthorns for Leicester City's new signing Timothy Castagne.

The Black Country outfit have the advantage over Leicester in the historic post-1901 head-to-head record, winning 51 of their previous clashes, while City have emerged triumphant on 40 occasions.

Over recent years, though, the Foxes have enjoyed five consecutive Premier League wins at the Hawthorns, with Jamie Vardy scoring in each game, most recently during the opening day success in September 2020. City's No.9 scored twice from the penalty spot after Timothy Castagne's debut goal handed the visitors the lead.

Other memorable visits to the Hawthorns include a 4-1 success for Claude Puel's side in March 2018 and another triumph by the same scoreline in March 2008 - which included a Steve Howard hat-trick - and a 3-2 success in November 1995.

Trophy cabinet 

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Alan Ashman
Alan Ashman

Manager Alan Ashman holds the FA Cup aloft for the thousands of fans who lined the streets of West Bromwich in 1968.

One-time English champions West Brom lifted the First Division title by a margin of nine points in 1920 and have finished as runners-up on two occasions - at the conclusion of 1924/25 and 1953/54.

The Baggies have also won the second tier title three times - in 1902, 1911 and 2008 - while also earning promotion in second place four times this century, most recently last term.

They are five-time winners of the FA Cup (1888, 1892, 1931, 1954 and 1968), although they have tasted success in the League Cup just once, in 1966, when they defeated West Ham over two legs.

The Hawthorns outfit have appeared in continental cup competitions 16 times, facing the Foxes in the 1975/76 Anglo-Scottish Cup and 1993/94 Anglo-Italian Cup, and starring in three UEFA Cup campaigns.

The stadium

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The Hawthorns
The Hawthorns

The Hawthorns became Albion's home at the turn of the 20th century.

The 26,688-capacity Hawthorns has been West Bromwich Albion's home venue since 1900, although its record attendance was set at 64,815 in an FA Cup Sixth Round tie against Arsenal in 1937.

Its construction, at the turn of the 20th century, is reported to have only taken four months to complete, while the stadium is also the highest ground above sea level of all 91 venues in English professional football.

One of several distinctive features at the Hawthorns is a gate in tribute to former Baggies forward Jeff Astle, located on the Birmingham Road, featuring his celebratory pose during the 1968 FA Cup Final.

Albion's record appearance-maker and goalscorer, Tony Brown, is also remembered with a statue depicting 'Bomber' netting his second goal in the 1978/79 UEFA Cup Last-16 against Valencia.

Upcoming fixtures

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West Bromwich Albion
West Bromwich Albion

West Brom remain in a fight to preserve their Premier League status with seven games to go.

Following the visit to Leicester on Thursday, West Brom have six Premier League fixtures remaining in 2020/21. Next up is a Midlands derby with Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday 25 April (7pm kick-off), followed by hosting Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Black Country derby on Saturday 1 May (3pm kick-off).

A trip to Arsenal's Emirates Stadium awaits on Saturday 8 May (3pm kick-off), ahead of home games against Liverpool and West Ham United, before finishing the season away at Leeds United on Sunday 23 May (4pm kick-off).

All times BST.

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