Club News

Bilić on ‘different’ Charlton test

Slaven Bilić expects Charlton Athletic to be a different proposition when Albion return to The Valley in the league on Saturday.

The Baggies earned an FA Cup fourth-round tie against West Ham United with a 1-0 win in the capital on Sunday but both sides took the opportunity to make changes from their first Sky Bet Championship fixtures of 2020. 

And while Slaven admits Albion will travel to south east London with positive memories from their cup victory, he expects a more difficult game against the Addicks this time around. 

“A victory is a victory and we’ll take some positive things from it. We have good fresh memories from that ground because we left happy. But it’s going to be a different game. 

“They also rested some players [in the FA Cup] and it wasn’t a packed stadium. It was a good FA Cup atmosphere, don’t get me wrong, but this is going to be a more difficult game for us, definitely. 

“We are, of course, ready for that. We are looking forward to it.

“We need points to maintain our position. Charlton started really good in the league then they dropped after they were hit with injuries and all the problems that come with that. 

“But they are a fighting team, they are an aggressive team, they are playing at home and they also need points, so we are expecting a very difficult game - it’s the Championship!”

The Baggies will be backed by another bumper following at The Valley with more than 3,000 supporters making the trip and Bilić again emphasised their importance to his side’s success.

“They’ve been brilliant since the opening day at Forest. I still remember that game. It was my first game and straight away there was a packed stadium, a sold-out ground. A big game you are playing against in a big stadium. 

“I remember that our fans were very loud that day and they haven’t stopped since. It’s brilliant to have them and they make the difference.”

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