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Premier League Preview: Newcastle v West Bromwich Albion

West Bromwich Albion could bring Billy Jones back into their squad for the trip to Newcastle United, while Jerome Thomas may also be picked.

Jones has been out with a knee injury throughout October but could be picked at right-back with manager Steve Clarke having used central defender Gabriel Tamas out of position in West Brom’s past two games.

Left-winger Thomas, who has missed West Brom’s entire season so far due to a string of injury issues, joined Jones and the rest of Clarke’s squad in full training on Wednesday and could be in line for a recall against Newcastle.

However, in frustrating news for Clarke, captain Chris Brunt and defender Steven Reid remain unlikely to play due to ongoing hamstring problems.

West Brom head to Newcastle on Monday in a match that will pit last season’s shock success story against the surprise packet of the current English Premier League campaign.

Newcastle finished fifth last season, while West Brom have won four and drawn two to sit sixth after eight rounds.

But having lost 2-1 at home against reigning champions Manchester City last week, Clarke’s team will want to get back on track immediately when they head north to Newcastle, who drew 1-1 in the Tyne-Wear derby against Sunderland.

Newcastle occupy 11th spot on the table and have only won one of their past seven league games but remain hard to beat with only two losses in that period.

That has been an impressive record for Newcastle as they have struggled through an injury crisis in defence with number one goalkeeper Tim Krul and defenders Fabricio Coloccini, Danny Simpson, as well as Steven and Ryan Taylor having all spent time on the treatment table this season.

With Coloccini, Krul and Simpson having returned in the past fortnight, Alan Pardew’s team could build some momentum now and push up the league table, although Newcastle will be without Cheikh Tiote against West Brom after the midfielder was sent off against Sunderland.

Pardew will have to be wary of West Brom’s striker Shane Long, who has scored twice in his team’s last three matches, and has been Clarke’s main option up front.

Fri 26 October, 2012
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