Sports Mole provides an overview of Friday’s pre-season friendlies between Woking and West Bromwich Albion, including predictions, team news and head-to-head.
West Bromwich Albion start life under Valérien Ismaël with a pre-season friendly away from the National League side awake Friday night.
The Baggies are expected to play five games before starting their championship campaign, while their opponents will see the meeting as the culmination of their preparations for the new season.
After trying unsuccessfully to bring in a number of different managers to replace the Sam allardyce, the Baggies hierarchy ultimately made the decision to pay the required indemnity for Ismael.
The Frenchman was arguably the championship boss of the season in 2020-21 after guiding Barnsley to the playoffs, but he will face greater expectations during his time at The Hawthorns.
Although it looks like Ismael will have time to succeed in the West Midlands after signing a four-year contract, he is tasked with earning an immediate return to the Premier League.
A familiar face in Alex Mowatt joined him on leaving Barnsley for West Brom, with Matthew Clarke the second addition in a season-long loan deal from Brighton & Hove Albion.
New faces will inevitably follow in the coming weeks as West Brom continues preparations with friendlies against Watford, Sheffield Wednesday, Walsall and Birmingham City.
Woking counterpart Alain Dowson faces similar rebuilding work after the Surrey squad’s poor conclusion last season.
The Cardinals haven’t won any of their last 16 games of the campaign, their two draws against Eastleigh and Stockport County.
Woking would still have avoided the fall even if relegation had been a possibility, but Dowson is aware he needs to boost morale at the club as soon as possible.
Seven new faces have already joined the first team, including George oakley who returned to the south of England after stints with Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Hamilton Academical and Kilmarnock.
Woking form (all competitions):
West Bromwich Albion form (all competitions):
Mowatt is expected to feature in the Baggies midfielder, while Clarke is expected to be named as a substitute after his transfer earlier this week.
Ismael could also take a look at the young midfielder Quevin Moises Castro, who moved to West Brom with a free transfer.
Sam johnstone will not be involved after making the England squad for Euro 2020, and the same could apply to Romaine Sawyer, who spent time in Saint Kitts and Nevis last month.
Dowson will name his strongest possible formation in Woking as his team look to start the preseason with a shock victory.
These two teams have only met in one competitive match, a match that took place during the 1991 FA Cup.
West Brom, who was relegated to Tier 3 later this season, suffered a shock 4-2 loss to The Hawthorns.
We say: Woking 1-4 West Bromwich Albion
Ismael had little time to work with his new players on the training ground, potentially providing an opportunity for the home side.
That said, Baggies players will be motivated to impress their new head coach, leading us to predict a convincing victory for the visitors.