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|WBAFans_Latest Posted on 09/01/2017 12:47|
Berahino Set For U23's v Villa Tonight
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|Exiled striker Saido Berahino is due to play for Albion under-23s in their derby with Aston Villa at Aggborough tonight.|
He will be part of a strong Albion line-up that is also expected to include Sam Field, 18, Rekeem Harper, 16, and Kane Wilson, 16, all of whom were named on the bench for Saturday's FA Cup third round match with Derby County.
Tahvon Campbell, 19, Tyler Roberts, 17, and Andre Wright, 20, will also play so that Albion's coaches can assess them following their loan spells at lower-league clubs in the first half of the season.
However, Jonathan Leko will not be featuring as he recovers from an ankle injury that has ruled him out for the past week.
Berahino has not featured for the first team since September with Baggies boss Tony Pulis saying he is unfit.
“I don’t think he’s physically ready," said Pulis, last week. "If Saido was at his maximum and was clear in his mind what he wanted to do and everything was right for him he’d be in the team."
The 23-year-old disputes that, however, and has told friends he is being frozen out of the team because he's refusing to sign a new contract.
Last week he uploaded a video to Instagram of him jogging on the pavement accompanied with the words, 'They say i aint fit #ok' and two angry-face emojis.
He featured for James Shan's side twice in December, but this is the first competitive game the U23s have played in nearly three weeks.
The Baggies did play a friendly against the under-19s of Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG at the training ground last Wednesday.
"We had a long break between fixtures over the Christmas period so the game against Shanghai on Wednesday fitted in nicely," said Shan.
"All of the players in and around our squad completed at least 45 minutes so hopefully that will be a nice introduction to the game on Monday."
Albion are currently four points off the play-offs in Division Two of Premier League 2, and they beat Villa 5-2 in September.
"The 5-2 display was one of the best PL2 performances I've seen in my time at the club," said Shan.
"You can see the Villa fixture brings out a little bit more intensity which adds to the quality of the game.
"I'm expecting a difficult derby on Monday - Kevin MacDonald's sides are always very hard-working and hard to beat. We know we'll have to match that."
Kick-off at Aggborough is 7pm. Entry is £5 for adults, £1 for concessions, and free for Albion season ticket holders.
Link: Express & Star