Midfielder Emmanuel Ledesma joins Albion on loan

Middlesbrough attacking midfielder Emmanuel Ledesma will be joining the Albion on loan (Photograph: Paul Hazlewood)
Middlesbrough attacking midfielder Emmanuel Ledesma will be joining the Albion on loan (Photograph: Paul Hazlewood)

Albion face Birmingham City looking to build on a pair of away draws.

Albion face Birmingham City looking for the three points needed to build on a pair of away draws.

Their opponents are winless in seven league and cup games, and are experiencing off-the-field turmoil, - although those concerns did not prevent the Blues securing a welcome draw with high-flying Middlesbrough on Wednesday.

As far as the Albion are concerned, the feeling persists that, in isolation, draws at Cardiff City and Sheffield Wednesday represent credible returns. But, in the wider context of the club’s league position, away draws will be enough only when paired with maximum points hauls at the Amex.

With just three wins and 15 points won at home all season, the Albion have the Championship’s third-worst home record and just four teams have scored fewer goals on their own patch. If the club is to address their worrying home record, it will need to show substantially more attacking intent than against Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday. Albion managed just three shots on target across 180 minutes of both games.

It has been confirmed that the Middlesbrough attacking midfielder Emmanuel Ledesma will be joining the Albion on loan to provide competition in wide areas, while returning Kazenga Lua Lua and Dale Stephens should continue to provide improved creativity and attacking options.

Birmingham rely heavily on Clayton Donaldson to provide a goal threat, although the striker has not found the net since a hat- trick against Wigan Athletic back on January 10.

Midfielder David Cotterill is another key player with seven goals and seven assists to his name this campaign, plus a delightful delivery from set-pieces, and the highly-rated 18-year-old Demarai Gray, with his pace, could trouble the Albion in wide areas.

Albion fans will be intrigued to see whether Danny Holla returns to the squad, but Chris Hughton’s main decision will be whether to go with Leon Best or Chris O’Grady in the central striking role, as he continues to search for the right combination in attacking areas.