Tony Pulis is refusing to panic over West Brom’s slump in form ahead of Monday’s home clash with Newcastle United.
Albion have not recorded a Premier League win since toppling Arsenal over a month ago and have picked up just three points from the last 15 on offer.
Pulis’ men were narrowly beaten at Swansea City in the first match of a busy festive period on Saturday, with Ki Sung-yueng grabbing the only goal of the game at the Liberty Stadium after just nine minutes.
That result left West Brom anxiously looking over their shoulders in 13th place.
However, Welshman Pulis knows much can change between now and the end of the season, particularly if a team suddenly put together a string of good results.
“It’ll be ebb and flow, we’ve not reached the midway point yet,” Pulis said.
“You put two or three wins together and you’re in the top 10. That’s how close this league is, it’s close this year.”
West Brom, bidding to avoid a third successive defeat, will be without suspended pair James McClean and Salomon Rondon, as they are both one game into three-match bans following the red cards they received in the 2-1 loss to AFC Bournemouth in the side’s last home outing.
Newcastle, meanwhile, had been on an upward curve until conceding a late goal at home to Everton on Saturday.
Tom Cleverley’s headed winner at St James’ Park ended a three-match unbeaten streak for Steve McClaren’s side. It also denied them the point they needed to move above Norwich City and out of the relegation zone.
Goals from Ayoze Perez and Fabricio Coloccini sealed a 2-0 league triumph over West Brom at The Hawthorns in November 2014, a result that made it four successive wins under Alan Pardew.
McClaren would welcome a similar outcome this season, particularly as an away victory would take Newcastle level with their opponents on 20 points.
But Newcastle will have to manage without the services of Papiss Cisse. McClaren confirmed before the Everton game that the forward will be sidelined until early in 2016 by a groin injury.
“It was always a long shot [for Cisse to play against Everton],” the former England manager told the Shields Gazette. “It’s going to be quite a few weeks.”
Reflecting on the Everton setback, McClaren said: “This game is cruel and we have to quickly move on.”
Key Opta stats:
– West Brom striker Victor Anichebe has scored five goals in the Premier League versus Newcastle; more than against any other opponent.
– Newcastle United have lost just one of their last seven Premier League meetings with WBA (W4 D2 L1).
– West Brom have lost seven of their last 13 Premier League home games (W3 D3 L7).
– The visitors have failed to score in nine of their last 14 Premier League away games.
– Newcastle United have only failed to score in two of their last 28 league meetings with West Brom.
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