Match Previews

Shan expecting difficult Newcastle clash

JAMES Shan believes his under-23s are facing a “tough test” when they play Newcastle United in the Premier League 2 Division Two this evening.

Albion were defeated 4-0 in the return game at The Hawthorns earlier on in the season, but Newcastle are currently on a run that has seen them win one of their last nine PL2 games. 

“They’re a good team. We faced them earlier in the season and they beat us convincingly,” he said.

“Looking at their recent games - their style hasn't changed too greatly so whether they've just been unfortunate in the matches or their run of lots of fixtures has caught up with them I don't know.

“But either way I’d imagine it will still be a tough test.”

It’s predicted to be a bitterly cold evening up in the North East, but Shan insisted that his players will adapt to the conditions and hopefully build on some positive recent performances.

“If the weather doesn't effect the pitch then I don't think it will effect the game,” he added.

“Obviously if the pitch becomes a bit hardened and there’s bumpy parts that begin to freeze then it will have an impact on the game and the safety of the players.

“But in terms of cold conditions, it’s just a case of getting on with it. The lads will put their skins on, get warm and crack on.

“We’re trying to keep as much of the starting eleven that’s appeared in the last two games as possible to get that continuity.

“It’s something that we’ve been searching for all season, having a settled squad and being able to select from the same group of players.

“But we have had a couple of injuries and some illnesses that haven't helped that. The core of the squad is as close to what it has been over the last couple of weeks, but this game also presents an opportunity for others to make a claim and get in the team.”

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