Second half, at West Brom and optimism

If we learnt anything the other day, it was that we wont give up. We need to start the match tonight the same way. It wont be easy and it could be very hard.

But it's half time and I'll take going into the second half winning 2-1 and I think most of us would. I know a West Brom fan that isn't looking forward to tonight and has effectively given up the tie.

But that means very little because we all know a lot can happen in ninety minutes. Do you see where I'm going with the optimism?

Kick off is at 8pm and I'll be back later with team news and updates. I might even have a beer or two.

Match facts from the BBC

  • 16 of the last 18 sides to win the first leg of a Championship play-off semi-final have gone on to progress through to the final, with the only exceptions being Derby County last season (vs Fulham) and Leicester City in 2012-13 (vs Watford).
  • The only previous occasion of West Brom losing the first leg of a play-off semi-final came against Swansea City in the third-tier play-offs in 1992-93 (1-2), progressing 3-2 on aggregate courtesy on a 2-0 victory in the second leg at the Hawthorns.
  • West Brom have never previously lost the home leg of a play-off tie, beating Swansea 2-0 in the 1992-93 third tier semi-final, drawing with Bolton (2-2) in the 2000-01 second tier semi-final and beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 in the 2006-07 Championship semi-final.
  • Aston Villa ended a four-game winless run against West Brom with their 2-1 victory at Villa Park in the first leg - they last won back-to-back matches against the Baggies in all competitions back in March 2015, wining 2-1 in the Premier League and then knocking them out of the FA Cup four days later (2-0).
  • West Brom are unbeaten in their last seven games against Aston Villa at the Hawthorns in all competitions (W2 D5), since a 1-2 defeat in the Premier League back in September 2008.
  • Aston Villa ended the 2018-19 Championship season with a seven-game unbeaten run on the road (W5 D2), with their last away defeat coming against Brentford in February (1-0).
  • West Bromwich Albion will be without their top goalscorer Dwight Gayle following his red card in the first leg. The Baggies have just a 33% win rate without Gayle in all competitions this season (four wins from 12 games), compared to a 54% win rate with him in the side (22 wins from 41 games).
  • Tammy Abraham has found the back of the net with four of his last five attempts on target in the Championship (including play-offs), with each of those goals coming against different opposition (Sheffield Wednesday, Bristol City, Bolton and West Brom).