Preview: West Brom vs. Wolves – prediction, team news, lineups


Sports Mole previews Sunday’s FA Cup clash between West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Ending a Black Country derby hiatus lasting nearly three years, long-time rivals West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers face off at The Hawthorns on Sunday, with a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup up for grabs.

The Baggies made light work of Aldershot Town to reach the fourth round, while Gary O’Neil‘s men eliminated fellow Premier League side Brentford from the competition after a replay.

Match preview

© Reuters

COVID-19 was rife the last time that West Brom and Wolves squared up to one another in a competitive fixture, which came in May 2021 without any fans present, but The Hawthorns will be packed to the rafters for Sunday’s highly-anticipated reunion.

Since being dumped out of the Premier League at the end of the 2020-21 campaign, West Brom’s attempts to return to the promised land have been futile, and the Baggies have also failed to make it past round four of the FA Cup, being subjected to a rude awakening in a 3-0 loss to Bristol City at this stage last year.

The visit of National League outfit Aldershot Town in the third round gave rise to a giant killing, but Carlos Corberan‘s men avoided becoming the latest victims of a cup upset by triumphing 4-1 on January 7, netting three of their goals within the opening 30 minutes of the contest.

An identical Championship win over Blackburn Rovers followed for West Brom just six days later, but last weekend’s sojourn to East Anglia for a date with Norwich City was not a memorable one, as the Baggies had no reply to Josh Sargent and the much-coveted Jonathan Rowe‘s strikes either side of the half-time whistle.

Corberan’s men still boast realistic playoff aspirations as they lie fifth in the Championship standings, thanks in no small part to their exploits at The Hawthorns, where they have won each of their last four games in all tournaments and have lost just once in their last 12 such affairs.

Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Gary O'Neil reacts after the match on January 22, 2024© Reuters

Aiming to inflict a rare dose of Hawthorns hardship on their Black Country foes, Wolves were also involved in a five-goal extravaganza during their FA Cup third-round tie with Brentford, but only after O’Neil’s 10 men dug incredibly deep to hold out for a 1-1 draw in West London.

Nothing could separate the two top-flight adversaries after 90 minutes of their Molineux rematch either, but with seconds remaining in the first period of extra time, Matheus Cunha stroked home from the penalty spot to earn the West Midlands crop a mouthwatering derby date.

Proudly displaying four FA Cups in the trophy cabinet – albeit none since 1960 – Wolves have just one fourth-round exit to show from their last four matches at this stage of the competition, although that did come in their most recent attempt to reach round five in 2021-22, where Norwich coincidentally crushed their silverware dreams.

As is the case with West Brom, Wolves also drew a blank away from home in their latest league affair, although holding Brighton & Hove Albion to a 0-0 draw at the Amex was nothing to be sniffed at, as O’Neil’s men became the first team to prevent the Seagulls scoring in front of their own fans this season.

A six-match unbeaten run is now Wolves’ to protect and extend against West Brom, but the visitors only have one triumph to show from their last seven games as the away team ahead of their next stopover at The Hawthorns, where they have endured an excruciating winless run stretching all the way back to September 1996.

West Bromwich Albion FA Cup form:

West Bromwich Albion form (all competitions):

Wolverhampton Wanderers FA Cup form:

Wolverhampton Wanderers form (all competitions):

Team News

Pablo Sarabia celebrates scoring for Wolverhampton Wanderers on November 9, 2023© Reuters

West Brom have dipped their toe into the transfer market to sign Bristol City’s Andreas Weimann on loan this month, but having already featured for the Robins in this season’s competition, the playmaker is cup-tied and unavailable for the Black Country derby.

Nigeria’s Semi Ajayi and DR Congo’s Grady Diangana remain on Africa Cup of Nations duty too, and Corberan lost midfield fulcrum Okay Yokuslu to injury before half time in the loss to Norwich, but he was spotted in training in midweek and should be in contention to play.

That is more than can be said for Jayson Molumby, who is expected to be sidelined for around three months after undergoing a foot operation, while Matt Phillips (hamstring) and Josh Maja (ankle) will not be returning anytime soon either.

Wolves have their own international absentees to work around in the shape of South Korea’s Hwang Hee-chan and Mali’s Boubacar Traore, but Rayan Ait-Nouri‘s Algeria suffered a humiliating early exit from the AFCON, and O’Neil has confirmed that the left-back should be in contention to feature here.

Pablo Sarabia‘s cameo against Brighton was cut short on the 70-minute mark due to a hamstring problem, and while he had not rejoined training by the time O’Neil faced the media on Thursday, there is hope that he will be available too.

However, Joao Gomes is still serving his suspension after being banished in Wolves’ opening third-round draw with Brentford, while Jonny remains ostracised from the group until at least the end of the month but is expected to join Greek side PAOK imminently.

West Bromwich Albion possible starting lineup:
Griffiths; Furlong, Bartley, Kipre, Townsend; Swift, Chalobah, Mowatt; Wallace, Dike, Thomas-Asante

Wolverhampton Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Sa; Kilman, Dawson, Toti; Semedo, Lemina, Doyle, Doherty; Bellegarde, Neto; Cunha

SM words green background

We say: West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

For all of their road woes, West Brom have often managed to rectify such mistakes in front of the Hawthorns faithful and need no added incentive to right the wrongs of their Norwich defeat against the bitterest of rivals.

Breaking down O’Neil’s rigid defensive structure will be a tall order given their handful of absentees, though, and was the case as the Amex, we can envisage Wolves frustrating their hosts but also capitalising on their defensive vulnerabilities to reach round five and snap their harrowing Hawthorns streak.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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