West Brom boss Valerien Ismael has demanded a positive response from his men as they look to get back to winning ways against local rivals Birmingham City on Friday (Match betting – West Brom 4/6, draw 3/1, Birmingham 9/2).

The Baggies (2/1 – Championship Outright) have made a fine start to 2021-22 and look set to be firmly in the mix for automatic promotion to the Premier League.

But they did taste defeat for the first time this term in the Championship when going down 1-0 at Stoke prior to the international break.

That loss has them sitting second and three points adrift of Bournemouth ahead of taking on West Midlands rivals Blues at the Hawthorns on Friday.

Valerien, who only took over during the summer, has challenged his players to bounce back immediately as they look to embark on another strong run before the November international break.

“I’m excited to see how we respond. We are all after a positive one,” Valerien said.

“We’re in a good position ahead of the game and ahead of the next block of games before the November international break.

“We’ve got six games from now until then and it’s so important we start well on Friday night against Birmingham City.”

Lee Bowyer’s side face a tough assignment on the road after failing to win in five, losing four during that sequence, to slip down to 16th in the standings.

Meanwhile, there’s also action in League One on Friday when Burton Albion welcome Morecambe to the Pirelli Stadium (Match betting – Burton Albion 10/11, draw 13/5, Morecambe 16/5).

The Shrimps (13/8 – To be relegated) started the term positively with three successive wins but they’ve only picked up one more victory in the following 11 games across all competitions.

Head coach Stephen Robinson, who watched his side lose 4-3 to Wycombe in their last league outing, feels they can take something from the game if they get back to basics.

Robinson said: “We’ve stopped playing our game, we’ve gone long-ball and we aren’t very good at that. We’re a team with good, technical players and the first 45 minutes at Wycombe (a 4-3 defeat) was probably the best Morecambe performance for a long time.

“However, we didn’t do the basics in the second half, so we’ve worked on that and how we get better mentally.”

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