Aston Villa v West Brom, 19:45
A few years ago there was a battle for supremacy in the midlands, as West Brom had a rising profile and a wonderful backroom at a time when there were three teams from the area in the Premier League, but all that is a distant memory now. This season we have two of the Birmingham sides in the big league and they both fighting relegation and struggling to hold onto their best players as a result, and while the Baggies have maintained their position as top dogs in that part of the world they are only eight points clear of Villa, who are firmly ensconced in the relegation zone. The appointment of Tony Pulis by West Brom was a wise move, and it looks as though they are safe now, but to go from up-and-comers to taking on Pulis to survive is hardly a success story by any stretch of the imagination.
Aston Villa’s Ron Vlaar is “touch and go” due to injury despite having completed a ban, and both Kieran Richardson and Aly Cissokho remain unavailable at left-back. West Brom boss Tony Pulis has fitness concerns over Saido Berahino and Brown Ideye, worrying for him as Victor Anichebe remains sidelined by a groin problem.
Hull v Sunderland, 19:45
With West Brom taking on Viaa and this match too, this may as well be relegation Tuesday in the Premier League, and the fans of Sunderland and Hull could well end up looking back on this game as a pivotal moment in their demise, or maybe their survival if things go well for them. There is a point and a place in the Premier League between them prior to kick off, five goals difference and just two points over their last seven games, so it will be a really close game according to the form book, and a win could potentially see the victors move six points clear of the relegation zone at a time when the action is really starting to hot up.
Dame N’Doye is expected to start for Hull and Nikica Jelavic should overcome a swollen knee but Robbie Brady could miss the rest of the season. Sunderland will have Wes Brown available after his red card at Old Trafford was overturned, and Jack Rodwell, Ricky Alvarez and Billy Jones are all thought to be fit.
Southampton v Crystal Palace, 19:45
For all that they are the media darlings and a supremely entertaining side to watch at times, Southampton are just starting to struggle now after an amazing first half of the season and need a run of easy games to get back on track. Losses to West Brom and Swansea were more surprising than the defeat Liverpool inflicted on Ronald Koeman’s side recently, and anyone thinking this game falls into the former category should maybe check again. Crystal Palace have lost only two of their last nine league matches, taking four victories in their last seven, and under Alan Pardew arguably look as good as they have done for many a year in the Premier League.
Southampton defender Toby Alderweireld is available after a seven-week lay-off, and both Eljero Elia and Shane Long are pushing for recalls. Shola Ameobi forward Glenn Murray is suspended, Jordon Mutch has a thigh niggle and Yaya Sanogo, Fraizer Campbell, and Marouane Chamakh are all out with hamstring problems.