watch our preview and predictions for Sunday's Black Country derby
Wolves will be without Hwang Hee-Chan as he is on international duty but Rayan Ait-Nouri returns to the squad from the Africa Cup of Nations. Joao Gomes serves his final suspension and won’t be available for this one. Pablo Sarabia hasn’t been in training and will be assessed.
For West Brom striker Daryl Dike is ruled out due to a calf issue. Grady Diangana is away on international duty. Adam Reach is also ruled out of the game and the next four to six weeks and Carlos Corberan admitted Jayson Molumby is potentially now out for the rest of the season.
Carlos Corberan and his wife are expecting a baby imminently and the manager could miss the game if baby arrives.
Here are the main lines from his news conference:
On team news, O’Neil said: “Rayan [Ait-Nouri] will be back, he’ll be in the match day squad. There’s some concerns from the Brighton game. Pablo [Sarabia] got a knock on his calf and hasn’t trained yet, we’re just monitoring him. The rest of the lads are all OK. Welcoming Rayan back and making sure Pablo is ready will be important to us.”
On what a first Black Country derby in some time means to his squad, O’Neil said: “Really looking forward to the game, we had our first session looking forward to it today. We got work done on what it should look like tactically and what it will feel like emotionally and what it means to our fan group.”
On the significance of the fixture and the FA Cup, O’Neil said: “There’s two sides to it. On the professional side, it’s another game in the FA Cup that I want to do well in. There’s also an understanding of what it means to the supporters. I’m very aware of what it means to them and we’re connected in that. The main focus for me If I’m honest is winning a game of football and the extra bit of giving the fans a great day is an added importance.”
O’Neil says he has done work with Matt Hobbs on trying to bring some players in, but after a meeting yesterday it was confirmed they won’t be “do-able financially”. They are now looking at other options.
On the departing Jonny, O’Neil said: “He’s close to a agreeing a deal which will be good for him. It’s important to remember what an incredible player he was for the club, he’s had some successful times.”
On other potential departures, O’Neil said: “If we can’t add any, I don’t foresee too many others leaving. People will have to stick around and make up the numbers in the squad for us.”
On his opponents, O’Neil said “I watched the draw, and my initial thoughts was it was a tough draw. They are doing fairly well in the Championship, largely due to their home form which has been better than their away form. They have a good coach, some really good players still there and I’m excited to be involved in a game which has extra significance to the area.”
MATCH STATS & FACTS
West Bromwich Albion have progressed from eight of their nine FA Cup ties against Wolves, including each of the past three in a row (most recently in the fourth round in 2006-07). The only exception was a 1-0 quarter-final win for Wolves in 1948-49.
Wolves are winless in their past 11 away games against West Bromwich Albion in all competitions. Their most recent victory at The Hawthorns was in September 1996, a 4-2 victory with Iwan Roberts netting a hat-trick.
West Bromwich Albion have won their past two home FA Cup matches, both against non-league opponents (4-0 v Chesterfield, 4-1 v Aldershot). The Baggies have not won three in a row on home soil since December 1992.
Wolves have won three of their past four FA Cup fourth-round ties, though they did lose 1-0 at home to Norwich in their most recent such match in 2021-22.
Brandon Thomas-Asante has been involved in six goals in his past eight home appearances for Albion in all competitions, scoring five and assisting one.
Referee: Thomas Bramall
Assistant referees: Simon Bennett & Blake Antrobus
Fourth official: John Busby
There is no VAR for this match.
The match kicks off at 11.45 on Sunday 28th January at the Hawthorns. The match is being shown live on ITV in the UK.