Steve Bruce could be tempted to axe out-of-sorts Conor Townsend and start new signing Erik Pieters for West Brom in their West Midlands derby showdown with Birmingham at The Hawthorns on Wednesday night. Albion have made two new signings since their last outing on 2 September when debutant Brandon Thomas-Asante’s 98th-minute goal earned a well-deserved point against Burnley.

Australian playmaker Tom Rogic and Dutch left-back Pieters, 34, have joined as free agents but the impressive form of Bruce’s current midfielders means ex-Celtic ace Rogic may have to wait for his debut. On Tuesday (13 September), it was announced that former Stoke, Burnley and PSV left-back Pieters has joined the Albion and we expect him to start against Birmingham. That could be one of two changes Bruce makes with Darnell Furlong potentially returning to the side in place of Taylor Gardner-Hickman.

It means that David Button starts in goals behind a back-four of Furlong, Kyle Bartley, Dara O’Shea and Peter’s. As quoted by the Express & Star on Tuesday, Bruce is confident that Pieters is fit and even hinted that he could be thrown into the action as soon as possible. The West Brom boss stated that Erik has been with us for six weeks, he might have a part to play earlier because we know where he’s up to.

He continued by adding that his fitness levels are very, very good. He’s got good experience. He’ll be a good acquisition for them. Jayson Molumby and Okay Yokuslu are predicted to start in the deeper-lying midfield positions with John Swift ahead of them in the more advanced role. Jed Wallace could start on the right-wing with the resurgent Grady Diangana on the left. Up front, we expect Karlan Grant to continue in the lone striker role.