Preview: Hull City vs. West Bromwich Albion

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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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Wolverhampton WanderersWolves28195450222862
2Derby CountyDerby28158544232153
3Cardiff CityCardiff28156740251551
4Aston Villa28148642251750
5Bristol City2813964032848
6Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd281441042321046
7Fulham28129746341245
8Middlesbrough281351038271144
9Brentford28111074235743
10Leeds UnitedLeeds28134114033743
11Preston North EndPreston28101263228442
12Ipswich TownIpswich28124124140140
13Norwich CityNorwich28107112833-537
14Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest28112153543-835
15Millwall28810103333034
16Queens Park RangersQPR2889113140-933
17Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds28711103034-432
18Reading2878133036-629
19Barnsley2869132840-1227
20Bolton WanderersBolton2868142646-2026
21Hull City28510133945-625
22Sunderland28510133047-1725
23Birmingham CityBirmingham2866161639-2324
24Burton Albion2866162152-3124
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