Blues are bogey team for Baggies

THE omens are good for an Ipswich win at table-topping West Bromwich Albion today.The Blues have not lost to the Baggies in 26 games going back almost 20 years and even though they are third bottom everything is set up for them to win.

THE omens are good for an Ipswich win at table-topping West Bromwich Albion today, writes Derek Davis.

The Blues have not lost to the Baggies in 26 games going back almost 20 years and even though they are third bottom everything is set up for them to win.

Gary Megson enjoyed a lunch on Tuesday to be presented with the Nationwide Manager of the Month award, a kiss of death if ever there was one.

Add that to the fact the Baggies have not been playing well, despite four league wins in a row, while Blues boss Joe Royle insists Town improved considerably even though they lost to West Ham last time out

After going five games without a win, Town desperately need to get three points. In a bizarre fixture list, this will be the third team beginning with a W in succession that Town face after defeats at Wigan and by the Hammers. They have three more in a row with Walsall, Watford and Wimbledon next up.

Unfortunately they have two Ls in the results list and if they don't record at least three Ws in the next fortnight, they will be in a far worse position than they were a year ago when George Burley was sacked.

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Alun Armstrong, who came off the free transfer list 10 days ago when Marcus Bent joined Leicester City on a season long loan, will again lead the attack, with Pablo Counago alongside him.

With Jermaine Wright passed fit after a slight back problem, Royle will go with his favoured 4-4-2 with debut-making Alan Mahon on the left and Chris Bart-Williams in the middle with skipper Jim Magilton.

That would mean no place for Georges Santos, which is ironic given that he was brought in to replace Thomas Gaardsoe, who is a definite starter for the Baggies.

The Frenchman could well make an appearance at some point and will be a factor in the game but in this system he is hard to accommodate with Richard Naylor doing no wrong.

Given the personnel available with Chris Makin ruled out with a complicated groin strain and Tommy Miller suffering bruising to a knee bone, Royle may consider going to a 3-5-2 to mirror Albion.

That would allow Santos and Naylor to line up with Drissa Diallo, Matt Richards as left wing back and Fabian Wilnis on the right with Mahon, Magilton and Bart-Williams, making up a tight middle trio.

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