Mel doing homework ahead of derby

West Brom head coach Pepe Mel has been studying Aston Villa closely ahead of Wednesday's derby clash between the two midlands clubs.

New West Bromwich Albion manager Pepe Mel

The Barclays Premier League contest at Villa Park will be only the second match in charge of Albion for Mel, who is in is his first job in English football.

But he has wasted no time in preparing for what he describes as "a big game", taking in Villa's 2-1 home loss to Arsenal - played four days after his January 9 appointment - and 2-2 draw at Liverpool that followed, as well as watching back their meeting earlier this season with the Baggies, which also finished 2-2.

Asked how much he had seen of Villa and where he felt they could cause his team trouble, Mel said: "I watched their last two games, at Villa Park and Anfield.

"They are a very good team on the counter-attack, but they are also good playing it long and winning the second ball with (striker) Christian Benteke.

"My players know this and we have worked hard on stopping these things.

"On my day off (on Sunday) I watched the last game, the 2-2 draw at The Hawthorns.

"It was a good match, but it is important for us to get three points this time."

Certainly, it would be a major early boost for Mel's tenure if he could guide West Brom to victory over their local rivals, and the Spaniard said: "It is a big game for us - the fans, the players, the club.

"We need to win. The only thing is to win."

West Brom captain Chris Brunt has given an insight into what life has been like for him and his team-mates under the new boss.

"It's been good so far and the first game was different to what we're used to," said Brunt on the club's official website wba.co.uk.

"We've been doing a lot of different stuff in training.

"Each coach has their own principles and the new gaffer likes to push high up the field when we haven't got the ball.

"That's going to take some getting used to because it is different to what we've been doing over the last couple of years.

"We're buying into the new philosophy.

"It was a good start for us against Everton and we're hoping to build on that."

Meanwhile, with the current transfer window in its last few days, Mel has been discussing potential incoming and outgoing personnel.

He is yet to make a new signing for West Brom but has indicated the Baggies, with Shane Long having departed, are looking to recruit another forward.

"The club is working very hard to bring someone in," Mel said. "We need someone who is a mobile player and is able to drop in behind."

Mel also said he will talk with Craig Dawson about the possibility of sending the defender out for another loan spell, that it appears likely striker Markus Rosenberg will depart, and that winger Graham Dorrans "could be very useful to us in the future".

"All of the clubs in the Championship want Craig Dawson," Mel said.

"I think he is an exceptional centre-back, he's a young player, and he really is the future of West Bromwich Albion.

"It is really very likely Rosenberg will leave; he is somebody who wants to leave and have game time elsewhere.

"It is very possible and there are clubs interested in him."

Mel said West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka has a ''99 per cent'' chance of playing in the Villa game - Albion's first match since the Frenchman was charged by the Football Association over his 'quenelle' goal celebration.

Forward Stephane Sessegnon, who is undergoing groin surgery and expected to be sidelined for a month, is the only player Mel has unavailable, with defenders Gareth McAuley and Goran Popov now ready to return to action after hamstring and neck problems respectively.



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