After what was a disappointing result on Teesside on Friday evening, Albion welcome Mansfield Town to the Hawthorns on Tuesday evening for a second round tie in the Carabao Cup.
David Flitcroft’s Stags have had an unbeaten start to their campaign so far, although having drawn four of their five league games, they are only in 13th place in League Two. Their most impressive result was in the first round of the Carabao Cup when they beat League One Accrington Stanley 6-1 thanks to a hat trick from Tyler Walker, son of former England defender, Des. It was Mansfield’s first win in the League Cup for eleven years.
For Darren Moore, it represents another opportunity to play fringe players. Against Luton in round one, he also took the opportunity to try out a new formation that has certainly proved successful, although Friday’s defeat to Middlesbrough showed that there is still much work to do.
Chris Brunt, in my opinion, remains a weakness in the side and I’d like to see Sam Field given an opportunity in the middle of the park. He played in the Luton match, but in the back three, and I’d like to see him play in his natural position against Mansfield.
Rekeem Harper performed well against Luton and it would be good to see him start again on Tuesday and provide further evidence that he is worthy of a first team spot. With Brunt struggling and Livermore’s performances mixed at best, it is central midfield that is, perhaps, where change is needed. Field and Harper are decent, if inexperienced, alternatives in the absence of a more experienced option that could arrive on loan in the next week.
Hegazi is another weak point in the team as his error on Friday night showed. The return of Dawson to the squad was a positive, although he probably contributed to the Egyptian’s mistake at the Riverside by missing the header in front of him. I would put Dawson back in the starting line up but it would be Hegazi, rather than Adarabioyo, that I would replace. As for the match against Mansfield, I’d give Dawson a full 90 minutes to build up his match fitness irrespective of whether Moore feels he is worthy of a first team start.
Another win is a must for the Baggies to head into what will be a grudge match against Stoke at the weekend – losing to a League Two side would be a big blow to confidence irrespective of the side that Darren Moore picks.
It’s safe to say that the Baggies and the Stags have very little history and Tuesday’s match will be just the fifth meeting between the sides, with Mansfield still looking for their first win over Albion.
The first of them came in the seventies version of the pointless competition, the Anglo-Scottish Cup. In August 1975, Mansfield travelled to the Hawthorns and earned a 1-1 draw with Len Cantello netting for the hosts while Kevin Bird scored for the Stags.
The other three previous meetings came in the same season when Albion were managed by Osvaldo Ardiles. The first of those was a League Division Two fixture at the Hawthorns just before Christmans. Goals from Bernard McNally and Alan Dickens were enough to secure the points for the Baggies.
Less than a month later, it was another of the lesser competitions that brought the teams together, the Football League Trophy, this time at Field Mill. Albion won once again thanks to a goal from Bob Taylor.
Three months later, it was back at Field Mill for the return fixture and, on this occasion, the Baggies ran out 3-0 winners thanks to goals from Andy Hunt, Bob Taylor and Carl Heggs.
A comfortable win for the Baggies.
All competitions; most recent game on the right
17 Apr 1993 – League Division 2
Mansfield Town 0
West Brom 3 (Hunt, Taylor, Heggs)
Last meeting at the Hawthorns
20 Dec 1992 – League Division 2
West Brom 2 (McNally, Dickens)
Mansfield Town 0
Albion’s Record against Mansfield Town