West Bromwich Albion host Aston Villa in the West Midlands derby on Tuesday night, as the two battle it out for a place in the Championship play-off final.
The Villans travel to the Hawthorns with the upper hand, having won 2-1 in the first leg on Saturday. They are looking to go one better than last season, having lost the Championship play-off final to Fulham at Wembley.
Meanwhile West Brom know that they have a job to do, and that they need to turn the tie around. The Baggies have only got the better of their Midlands rivals in one of their last six encounters at the Hawthorns, and know that they must win to keep their promotion hopes alive.
West Brom face a huge blow for the second leg, with star striker Dwight Gayle suspended following his red card late on in the first leg. The Newcastle loanee had 24 goals in 41 appearances this season, but will now miss the semi-final and the final if the Baggies get there.
Hal Robson-Kanu is also suspended for the remainder of their play-off campaign, following his dismissal at Derby on the final day. Gareth Barry is also ruled out through injury, while Jake Livermore and James Morrison are doubts through their own injury problems.
Despite having a string of potential absentees for the first leg, Aston Villa don't seem to have any new injury concerns. James Chester and Orjan Nyland remain unavailable for selection, but otherwise manager Dean Smith has a full strength team for Tuesday.
- 16 of the last 18 sides to win the first leg of a Championship play-off semi-final have
gone on to progress through to the final, with the only exceptions being Derby County
last season (vs Fulham) and Leicester City in 2012/13 (vs Watford).
- The only previous occasion of West Brom losing the first leg of a play-off semi-final
came against Swansea City in the third-tier play-offs in 1992-93 (1-2), progressing 3-2
on aggregate courtesy on a 2-0 victory in the second leg at the Hawthorns.
- West Brom have never previously lost the home leg of a play-off tie, beating Swansea
2-0 in the 1992-93 third tier semi-final, drawing with Bolton (2-2) in the 2000-01
second tier semi-final and beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 in the 2006-07
- Aston Villa ended a four-game winless run against West Brom with their 2-1 victory at
Villa Park in the first leg – they last won back-to-back matches against the Baggies in
all competitions back in March 2015, wining 2-1 in the Premier League and then
knocking them out of the FA Cup four days later (2-0).
- West Brom are unbeaten in their last seven games against Aston Villa at the
Hawthorns in all competitions (W2 D5), since a 1-2 defeat in the Premier League back
in September 2008.
- Aston Villa ended the 2018-19 Championship season with a seven-game unbeaten
run on the road (W5 D2), with their last away defeat coming against Brentford in
- West Bromwich Albion will be without their top goalscorer Dwight Gayle following his
red card in the first leg. The Baggies have just a 33% win rate without Gayle in all
competitions this season (four wins from 12 games), compared to a 54% win rate with
him in the side (22 wins from 41 games).
- Tammy Abraham has found the back of the net with four of his last five attempts on
target in the Championship (including play-offs), with each of those goals coming
against different opposition (Sheffield Wednesday, Bristol City, Bolton and West
Tuesday's game is guaranteed to be another feisty affair, as the two rivals battle it out for a trip to Wembley. West Brom's recent home form against the Villans shows positives and negatives, while Villa's recent record at the Hawthorns shows the exact same results.
It's going to be a fierce battle at the Hawthorns, in a game where neither side will give up without a fight. However, it looks like it will be too great of an ask for West Brom without Gayle, as Aston Villa look like they will triumph and progress to their second consecutive Championship play-off final.
Prediction: West Brom 1-2 (2-4 aggregate) Aston Villa