Premier League team West Brom host League Two club Harrogate Town on Wednesday night at the Hawthorns in the second round of the Carabao Cup. Slaven Bilic’s Baggies are newly promoted to the Premier League and came to reality at the weekend of just how difficult life will be in the top flight. West Brom were thrashed 3-0 as Leicester City ran riot at the Hawthorns.
West Brom have the chance for redemption on Wednesday as Harrogate Town arrive at the Hawthorns. Harrogate Town were promoted from the National League at the end of last term. They will be up for the Carabao Cup clash against West Brom and ready to make headlines with a shock win.
Harrogate Town were in action in the Carabao Cup first round. They defeated Tranmere Rovers on penalties, 8-7, after the fixture finished 1-1. Lloyd Kenny tallied Harrogate Town’s goal in the second half leading the club back from a goal down.
West Brom enter the competition in the second round and will aim to avoid elimination. Bilic could use the match to get his players fit after a strange offseason. After coming up with a 3-0 loss on matchday 1 of the Premier League, the manager could deploy first-choice players to get them firing.
Harrogate Town have already played three competitive matches compared to West Brom’s one. Town began the campaign with their 1-1 draw – and win on penalties – versus Tranmere Rovers in the Carabao Cup. Three days later, Harrogate Town defeated Grimsby Town on penalties in the EFL Trophy. Again, the club had to come from behind as Kevin Loko scored in the 86th minute to give Harrogate Town a 1-1 draw. They won on penalties 5-4.
Manager Simon Weaver then led his team to a 4-0 win at the weekend to kick off the League Two season. They went away to Southend United and scored on both sides of halftime to claim the victory.
West Brom’s players could be lacking in fitness compared to those of Harrogate Town. Although both clubs will want to do well in the Carabao Cup, they have far more important objectives for their seasons respectively.
Both will aim to solidify their places in their respective leagues. West Brom just came up to the Premier League while Harrogate Town also achieved promotion at the end of last campaign. Which side will take the spoils on Wednesday night?
Bilic has three players on his injury list heading into the Carabao Cup match. The good news for the manager is that only one of the three players listed on the injury sheet is ruled out of the game. Kenneth Zohore is recovering from a calf injury and is not able to train currently. Zohore is likely to miss a few games.
Conor Townsend is recovering from an ankle/foot injury and could be held out of the game to give him more time to recover. Matt Phillips is also on the recovery trail and Wednesday’s game could come a bit too early for him to return to the full squad.
Bilic will have one eye on Premier League matchday 2. The Baggies will visit Everton at Goodison Park. The Toffees started the season well with an away win at Tottenham Hotspur. Bilic doesn’t want to start the Premier League season with back to back losses. Could Saturday’s Premier League match dictate Bilic’s line-up versus Harrogate Town?
Weaver could deploy as similar side that defeated Southend United last weekend. Jonathan Muldoon is in great form for Harrogate Town. He scored twice against Southend United and put the team on the path to victory. Harrogate Town could cause a shock on Wednesday night. They have more games and perhaps, better fitness under their belts.
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The long this game goals without West Brom scoring, the nervier it will get. Harrogate Town have played three matches compared to West Brom’s one and could out work the Baggies early on. Harrogate Town will be up for this game. It isn’t often they get to play a Premier League side. They just came up to League Two. A late goal could decide this fixture.
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The two teams should put on a low-scoring fixture when they meet. Although there is potential for goals, Harrogate Town scored four against Southend United last weekend, the two clubs should cancel one another out. West Brom could struggle to get goals against a good League Two side. Town should be set out to stifle the Baggies and to hit on the break. West Brom tallied just one shot on target against Leicester City at the weekend. Sure, Harrogate Town are not Leicester City, but West Brom must improve to win in the Carabao Cup.
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Charlie Austin scored 10 goals in 34 appearances for West Brom in the EFL Championship last term. He added a goal in one appearance in the Carabao Cup in 2019-20. Austin didn’t get off the bench versus Leicester City. Bilic’s decision not to use Austin tips his hand to the striker being used in the Carabao Cup.
West Brom’s performance versus Leicester City sparked fans and media to cry out for the club to spend money on a goalscorer. It is easy to call out to sign a goalscorer but it is a different thing to buy one. West Brom may not have the financial capabilities to add a proven Premier League striker. They may need to rely on the players already at the Hawthorns.
So, which side will progress to the third round of the Carabao Cup? Harrogate Town will give West Brom a strong fight on the night. However, West Brom’s quality should shine through in the end. The Baggies will move on, which could hurt hopes of Premier League survival.
The Hawthorns will host West Brom vs Harrogate on Wednesday in the Carabao Cup.
The West Brom vs Harrogate Town match kicks-off at 19:45 on Wednesday 16 September.