Di Matteo expects attractive clash

The Baggies visit Bloomfield Road on Monday and Di Matteo thinks

Ian Holloway’s side should be amongst the neutrals’ favourites this

season. “In my opinion they are the most attractive team in the

Premier League after Arsenal and Chelsea,” he said. Di Matteo’s

side beat Blackpool 3-2 in both fixtures in the Championship last

season, and he is hoping for more of the same. “We had two games

last season which were very entertaining and had plenty of goals,

so I’m expecting a similar game,” he added. “They haven’t changed

manager, neither have we, so it’s going to be entertaining.” The

success of the three promoted teams this season has caught the eye,

but Di Matteo sounded a word of caution to those who feel that this

could be the first season since 2001/02 where all three teams that

went up manage avoid the drop. “The promoted teams, they need a

good start to be able to have a chance,” he said. “That’s all it

is. It’s a long season, we all know that. At the moment, we are

just trying to win as much as we can. “The gap is still very big in

the Premier League, especially between the top teams and the

smaller clubs. It’s massive, and seems to be increasing as well.”

The schedule has been kind to West Brom this week, as they are

waiting on the fitness of a number of key players. Peter Odemwingie

(knee), Jonas Olsson (Achilles) and Marc-Antoine Fortune (ankle)

all have a chance of playing, but will be assessed at a later date.

“It’s so-so at the moment, as there are a few players with knocks,”

Di Matteo said. “We’re hopeful that they’ll all be fit, and there’s

a chance that we could have everybody available.” Di Matteo said

that if any of his first-choice XI are not fit, he is confident in

his squad players, many of whom were involved in the 4-1 Carling

Cup win at Leicester on Tuesday. “I had confidence in them before

that game as well,” he said. “I was very pleased with the

performance of the team and with some of the individual

performances.”