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Opposition Lowdown: Carlos Corberan’s West Bromwich Albion

Reading’s first game of 2023 sees the Royals make the trip to the West Midlands to face West Bromwich Albion. Join us as we take a look at the opposition.

West Bromwich Albion v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Malcolm Couzens - WBA/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images


West Bromwich Albion finished in 10th place in The Championship last term, eight points off the play-off places in their first season back in the second tier, following relegation from the Premier League in 2020/21. They currently sit in 11th position, one place and one point behind Reading, following nine wins, eight draws and eight losses.

Their recent form has been strong with the Baggies earning seven wins in their last eight games, having won their last four home matches. The two sides faced each other at the Select Car Leasing Stadium in October, with West Brom securing a 0-2 win over the Royals thanks to goals from Matt Phillips and Taylor Gardner-Hickman.

The boss

Carlos Corberan: Former Huddersfield Town manager Corberan took over as West Brom boss in October following the sacking of Steve Bruce. He started his coaching career as a fitness coach at Spanish club Villarreal, but he got his first chance as a manager in 2016 when taking over as manager of Cypriot side Doxa Katokopias. Corberan was sacked after two months but quickly took over as manager of Ermis Aradippou.

In June 2017 he joined Leeds United, starting off as the manager of their under-23 side before being promoted to a first-team coaching role at the club following Marcelo Bielsa’s arrival. In July 2020, Huddersfield appointed Corberan as first-team manager, where he led the Terriers to a 20th-place finish in his first season.

Huddersfield Town v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

The Spaniard almost led Huddersfield back to the top flight in his second season, however they lost to Nottingham Forest in the playoff final, having finished third in the league. He resigned that summer and had a short stint in charge of Greek side Olympiakos before joining West Brom in October.


Defender Kean Bryan will miss this game as he recovers from an ACL injury. Fellow centre back Kyle Bartley will also be missing after being ruled out for five weeks with a thigh injury, while Semi Ajayi is also expected to miss out through injury.

Expected line-up

Palmer, Furlong, O’Shea, Pieters, Townsend, Yokuslu, Molumby, Rogic, Wallace, Diangana, Thomas-Asante

Key player

Okay Yokuslu: Midfielder Yokuslu signed permanently for West Brom in July 2022, joining from Spanish side Celta Vigo. He started his professional career at Turkish side Altay in 2010 but quickly moved to Kayserispor in 2011, spending four years at the club before heading to Trabzonspor. A move to Spain followed in 2018 where he signed for Celta Vigo, before half-season loan spells at West Brom in 2021 and Getafe in 2022.

He is a full Turkish international who made his international debut in 2015 and has since won 39 caps for his country. He has quickly become a key player for the Baggies, making 21 appearances this season and scoring three goals including two in West Brom’s last game against Preston North End.

Yokuslu primarily operates as a defensive midfielder but can also play in defence. He is strong in the air and likes to shoot from range.

One to watch

Alex Palmer: Goalkeeper Palmer is a product of the West Brom academy who made his debut for the club in August 2021. He had a number of loan spells before his Baggies debut, having played for Kidderminster Harriers, Oldham Athletic, Notts County, Plymouth Argyle, Lincoln City and Luton Town.

Although he didn’t start the season as West Brom’s number one choice, he has quickly established himself as their regular starting goalkeeper and has been ever-present since starting his first game of the season in early October.

The 26-year-old has started 14 games for the Baggies so far this season, keeping eight clean sheets, including one against Reading earlier on this season, where a made a number of key saves to keep The Royals at bay. Palmer is strong shot-stopper with quick reflexes who has represented England at under-16 level.