What an introduction to the Football League for Harrogate.
The newly-promoted club have yet to play a home game this season, but they have already dumped Tranmere out of the League Cup and thumped Southend 4-0 on the opening day of the League Two season.
Now, they head to The Hawthorns for a clash with one of the most famous clubs in England.
It is unfortunate that Harrogate’s supporters are deprived of the chance to travel to the English Midlands, but it is still a landmark occasion for the club.
Their early season momentum should carry on into this clash and they will hope to frustrate their Premier League opponents for as long as possible. West Brom, meanwhile, will have a lot more on their mind than a meaningless League Cup game against lower league opposition.
Their emphatic opening day defeat against Leicester has highlighted the long and perilous road ahead of them, and Premier League survival is their one and only concern.
This is an opportunity to get back to winning ways before a difficult trip to Everton, but they may be frustrated by Harrogate before they finally break them down so draw half time/ West Brom full time looks good value.
Charlie Austin had to make do with a place on the bench for West Brom’s Premier League opener, but Slaven Bilic is likely to rest first team players on Wednesday and should turn to the veteran striker.
Austin has proved prolific in the League Cup throughout his career, scoring eight times in the 14 games he’s played in the competition and scoring in three of his last four League Cup games.
He has always scored goals in the Football League, enjoying his best goal-scoring season during his time at Burnley, and is more than capable of finding the back of the net against Harrogate.
If the League Two side do successfully frustrate West Brom, the Baggies will need someone with experience to stand and deliver, and there is hardly anyone better equipped than Austin to do so.
Harrogate showed their clinical side in the 4-0 thrashing of Southend at the weekend and this West Brom side will give them chances.
They are not like the West Brom teams of old that sucked the life out of anything they touched and made almost every neutral change the channel when they were on live television.
No, this West Brom side is expansive almost to the point of naivety. That much was apparent in their opening day defeat to Leicester and it was evident throughout last season.
Bilic’s side conceded 45 goals in 46 games and the thought of a successfully promoted West Brom side conceding a goal a game on average would have been unheard of in the days of Tony Pulis or Roy Hodgson.
They will offer up chances to their League Two opponents and there’s a decent chance that they’ll concede, leading us nicely to Both Teams To Score.
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