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Preview: Swansea City vs. West Bromwich Albion

Sports Mole previews the clash between Swansea and West Brom at the Liberty Stadium, where Pepe Mel will finally hope to record his first win as Baggies boss.

West Bromwich Albion travel to Swansea City on Saturday afternoon still searching for their first victory under Pepe Mel.

The Baggies perilously hover one point above the Premier League drop zone following seven winless games since the Spaniard's appointment in January.

Reports this week claimed that Mel may not even last until the end of the season, but Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster has branded these suggestions as "completely crazy".

Swansea also opted to make a managerial change to avoid slipping into a relegation battle, promoting experienced defender Garry Monk to the dugout after the controversial sacking of Michael Laudrup.

Since winning the fans over with a South Wales derby triumph over Cardiff City in his opening game in charge, the 34-year-old has, like Mel, struggled to pick up positive results.

The Swans have gone six games without a win, although strong showings at Liverpool and against Napoli in the Europa League last 32 suggest that Monk's side have too much to go down.

Three points this weekend could take them into the top half of the table, but they are without an injured trio of key players - Pablo Hernandez, Michu and Jonjo Shelvey - for the visit of West Brom.

Chico Flores is also unavailable through suspension following his red card in the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace, and therefore his Spanish compatriot Jordi Amat is expected to deputise in central defence.

Baggies skipper Chris Brunt has been ruled out for six weeks with a knee injury suffered in the 3-0 defeat to Manchester United, in which Stephen Reid and Claudio Yacob also sustained knocks.

With Billy Jones already in the treatment room nursing a hamstring strain, Mel may be forced to use Gareth McAuley or Craig Dawson as an emergency right-back at the Liberty Stadium.

Victor Anichebe will probably be given the nod again up front, although Albion's top league goalscorer Saido Berahino, who has four goals to his name this season, is pushing for a start.

Recent form

Swansea: DLLDLD

WBA: LDDLDL

Possible starting lineups

Swansea: Vorm; Rangel, Amat, Williams, Davies; Canas, Britton; Routledge, De Guzman, Dyer; Bony

WBA: Foster; McAuley, Dawson, Olsson, Ridgewell; Mulumbu, Morrison, Amalfitano, Sessegnon, Gera; Anichebe

Sports Mole says: 2-1


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Ashkan Dejagah of Fulham celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Fulham at The Hawthorns on February 22, 2014
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Bournemouth8530146818
2Fulham85121871116
3West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom8440147716
4Coventry CityCoventry851296316
5Stoke CityStoke84221110114
6Blackburn RoversBlackburn8341118313
7Huddersfield TownHuddersfield84131311213
8Queens Park RangersQPR83321612412
9Bristol City8332109112
10Cardiff CityCardiff8323119211
11Birmingham CityBirmingham83231010011
12Derby CountyDerby824267-110
13Luton TownLuton82421214-210
14Reading83141518-310
15Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd8233121209
16Middlesbrough8233910-19
17Preston North EndPreston8233911-29
18Millwall8152810-28
19Barnsley815269-38
20Blackpool8224712-58
21Swansea CitySwansea8143711-47
22Peterborough UnitedPeterborough82151017-77
23Hull City8125512-75
24Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest8116712-54

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