Preview: Hull City vs. West Bromwich Albion

West Bromwich Albion manager Pepe Mel celebrates his sides victory during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion at The Liberty Stadium on March 15, 2014
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Sports Mole previews the Premier League clash between two of the 11 clubs still involved in the relegation scrap as Hull City host West Bromwich Albion.

Pepe Mel will be hoping that the first victory of his reign against Swansea City last weekend will be the start of West Bromwich Albion's survival campaign.

The Baggies ended a seven-match winless run since the Spaniard's appointment as manager in January with a come-from-behind triumph in Wales.

They are now three points above the relegation zone ahead of a run of fixtures during which they will be battling for crucial points with other sides bidding to maintain their Premier League status.

West Brom face Cardiff City and Norwich City in the coming weeks, but a trip to Hull City, who are three places and two points above Albion in the table, is up first on Saturday afternoon.

The FA Cup semi-finalists will be without the suspended George Boyd as he begins a three-match ban for spitting at Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart during the 2-0 defeat at the KC Stadium.

Boyd, though, was only used as a substitute versus the Citizens and therefore Tigers manager Steve Bruce could name the same side that fell to a third consecutive top-flight home loss.

Shane Long, who moved to Hull from The Hawthorns in January having scored 22 goals in 87 appearances for Albion, is likely to partner Nikica Jelavic in attack against his former club.

Mel still has defensive injury concerns, with Diego Lugano and Billy Jones unavailable, but he may revert to a 4-2-3-1 formation after operating with three at the back at the Liberty Stadium.

Craig Dawson will make way for Zoltan Gera, or Scott Sinclair if Mel opts for a genuine source of width.

Albion have midfield absentees too in the form of Morgan Amalfitano, Chris Brunt and Claudio Yacob, and therefore Graham Dorrans could make successive starts for the first time since August.

Recent form

Hull: LWLWWD

West Brom: WLDDLD

Possible starting lineups

Hull: McGregor; Elmohamady, Davies, Chester, Figueroa, Rosenior; Huddlestone, Livermore, Meyler; Long, Jelavic

West Brom: Foster; Reid, Olsson, McAuley, Ridgewell; Morrison, Mulumbu; Gera, Sessegnon, Dorrans; Anichebe

Sports Mole says: 1-1

Swansea City player Michu outpaces Cardiff player Gary Medel during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Swansea at Cardiff City Stadium on November 3, 2013
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