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STARTING XIs: Hoolahan on the bench for Baggies as City make two changes

PUBLISHED: 14:26 12 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:51 12 January 2019

Argentine attacker Emi Buendia returns to City's starting XI at West Brom Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Argentine attacker Emi Buendia returns to City's starting XI at West Brom Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Norwich City have made two changes to their league starting XI for this afternoon’s crunch promotion clash at West Brom – who have named Canaries legend Wes Hoolahan among their substitutes.

Jamal Lewis is fit to return at left-back after missing three games with a hamstring injury, while Alex Tettey has shaken off his groin problem which saw him miss FA Cup action.

The other player to return to the league team is Emi Buendia, with the Argentine attacker returning from the ankle injury picked up shortly before Christmas.

The Canaries are looking to bring an end to a run of four matches without a win, although the last of those was with a much-changed team losing 1-0 at home to League One side Portsmouth in the FA Cup thirds round last weekend.

Prior to that was a 1-1 draw at Brentford, a 4-3 loss to Derby at Carrow Road and a 3-3 home draw with Nottingham Forest, however the Canaries remain second in the Championship table.

That’s thanks to just one defeat in the last 14 league games but the Baggies will leapfrog them with a victory, thanks to a better goal difference, while third-placed Sheffield United host play-off chasing QPR and could prevent Albion from going second.

Leeds sit five points clear at the top after a 2-0 home win over Derby last night.

OPPOSITION VIEW: Keeping goals out is vital to free-scoring Baggies’ promotion hopes

The Baggies are the division’s top scorers but are also looking to get back on track after a 2-1 loss at Blackburn on New Year’s Day followed a 1-1 home draw with Sheffield Wednesday.

Albion – fresh from 10 years in the Premier League – did progress in the FA Cup last week though when a much-changed side won 1-0 at home against Championship rivals Wigan.

Darren Moore makes five changes to the league starting line-up which lost at Blackburn, with Everton loanee Mason Holgate and Egypt international Ahmed Hegazi returning in defence.

Star man Harvey Barnes, recalled from his loan by Leicester, is replaced in attack by fit-again 13-goal striker Dwight Gayle and Chris Brunt and Rakeem Harper replace Matt Phillips and James Morrison in midfield.

Hoolahan, who made 352 appearances and scored 54 goals for Norwich between 2008 and 2018, was released by City at the end of last season and has rarely featured for West Brom this season – but starred in the FA Cup last weekend.

NORWICH: Krul; Aarons, Zimmermann, Godfrey, Lewis; Tettey (C), Vrancic; Cantwell, Buendia, Hernandez; Pukki. Subs: McGovern (GK), Klose, Thompson, McLean, Trybull, Rhodes, Srbeny

WEST BROM: Johnstone; Holgate, Dawson, Hegazi, Gibbs; Harper, Barry, Brunt (C); Robson-Kanu, Rodriguez, Gayle. Subs: Bond (GK), Adarabioyo, Sako, Leko, Bartley, Hoolahan, Field

• You can follow all the action from The Hawthorns with our reporters in our Matchday Live blog at pinkun.com/live

• You can also get exclusive insight and analysis from our Canaries correspondents in the Pink Un app, available for free now in the app store of your mobile device

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