Next Game ? West Bromwich Albion (home)

Last updated : 15 January 2004 By Tony Scholes

Artim Sakiri
Tipped as favourites for a return to the Premiership even before a ball was kicked this season they have hardly been out of the top two all season although just as a win could see them go top a much needed victory for the Clarets could see them drop a couple of places.

They got their first win of the season against us back in August when they beat us 4-1 at The Hawthorns which included a wonder goal from Artim Sakiri (he hasn’t scored since) and Lee Hughes scoring his first goals in over a year. They followed that win up with three more victories in more traditional style beating Watford, Preston and Derby all 1-0, the sort of result that won them promotion two seasons ago.

Again they are proving to be anything but prolific goalscorers and despite being second with 21 points more than the Clarets then have only found the net on one more occasion. They are though once again proving difficult to score against and alongside Norwich and Sunderland they have conceded the least number of goals with 22 against them. That is 25 less than we have conceded.

They have though tried to do something about that and recently moved to sign Geoff Horsfield from Wigan although they did fail to persuade Darren Huckerby to sign and he has now completed a move to promotion rivals Norwich.

Horsfield cost them £1 million, and just to think we came close to getting him for peanuts when he was at Halifax, and although the most expensive he has not been the only signing since we last played them.

Mauritian defender Sekou Berthe was signed from French club Troyes in September and he was followed by another defender in Watford’s Paul Robinson a month later, he cost £250,000.

Horsfield signed a week before Christmas and then today (Thursday) they captured former Charlton midfielder Mark Kinsella from neighbours Aston Villa.

That gives them one of the strongest squads in the division, if not the strongest but until last weekend they had been suffering something of a hiccup. They had gone six league and cup games without a win and that cost them top spot in the league whilst also seeing them go out of both cup competitions to Arsenal in the Carling Cup and at struggling Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup.

But that all changed last week when they finally won for the first time since a predictable 1-0 win at Bradford in early December.

The game was marred by a less than impressive performance from Barry Knight, when is he every anything but less than impressive, and in the most incredible of decisions he turned down the most blatant of penalties when Horsfield was tripped and instead yellow carded the Albion player for diving.

Horsfield had the last laugh when he scored his first goal since his move to clinch a 2-0 victory after Jason Koumas had given them the lead with a deflected free kick. Koumas though picked up an injury that could mean the influential midfielder missing the Turf Moor encounter.

They are currently playing in a 4-4-2 formation having dispensed with their three at the back and they lined up in that win: Russell Hoult, Bernt Haas, Thomas Gaardsoe, Darren Moore, Paul Robinson, Jason Koumas (James O’Connor 78), Sean Gregan, Artim Sakiri (Lloyd Dyer 70), Neil Clement, Scott Dobie (Rob Hulse 90), Geoff Horsfield. Subs not used: Joe Murphy, Phil Gilchrist.

Click HERE to see all West Brom’s results this season.

Past Results in the last 20 years

Season

Div

Ven

Result

Att

Scorers

a

1992/93

2

h

2-1

14,796

Harper Conroy

a

0-2

15,722

1994/95

1

a

0-1

13,539

 

h

1-1

11,885

Robinson

2000/01

1

a

1-1

17,828

Branch

h

1-1

18,199

Little

2001/02

1

a

0-1

21,422

a

0-2

15,846

2003/04

1

a

1-4

21,422

Blake

Click HERE to see more results against West Brom from the very first season of the Football League.