Football: De Freitas factor to revive Albion

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The Independent Online
AFTER CONCEDING eight goals in losing their last two games, West Bromwich Albion attempt to get back on the winning track at Bristol City today with a side that is likely to include their new striker, Fabian De Freitas, for the first time.

De Freitas, a former Holland Under-21 international, joined Albion last month on a free transfer from Osasuna. He is standing by to take over from the Republic of Ireland international Mickey Evans who suffered a shoulder injury on Tuesday and is likely to be out of action for six weeks.

The inclusion of De Freitas is likely to be the only change that Albion's manager, Denis Smith, will consider making to his side despite their appalling recent record.

Against Bolton on Tuesday Albion rather generously allowed their opponents a two-goal advantage before the interval and eventually lost 3-2.

"We are giving silly goals away when we should be winning matches," Smith said. "But if we stay switched on for 90 minutes then pretty soon we will be winning more games than we lose and will be up near the top."

Soren Andersen's brilliant late equaliser against Sunderland in midweek has earned him a return to the Bristol City first team.

The Danish international came on as a substitute to strike the 88th-minute goal which kept Sunderland off the top of the First Division.

The Robins are still seeking their first win of the season and their manager, John Ward, is hoping to build on Tuesday's draw against the Wearsiders.

Sorensen already has five goals for his new club, the same as his striking partner Ade Akinbiyi, a pounds 1.2m summer signing from Gillingham.

Ward looks certain to revert to a 4-4-2 formation after selecting Akinbiyi as a lone striker at Sunderland. He will also have to make a choice between Greg Goodridge and Scott Murray for a role on the right side of midfield.

Bury's admirable form, most recently a 2-1 win over Portsmouth in midweek, will come under stress when they travel to Norwich. The Canaries, too, are on a roll - rising to sixth place with the 3-1 victory over Barnsley on Tuesday.

The Shakers' goalkeeper, Dean Kiely, who was on international duty with the Republic of Ireland last week, hopes to continue the form which has seen him concede just one goal in six matches.

The Sheffield United player-manager, Steve Bruce, may soon have some cash for new signings after the Blades chairman, Mike McDonald, announced that he is in discussions with potential buyers for the club.

McDonald is in talks with several groups about taking a major stake in the First Division outfit but anyone joining the board will have to stump up a sizeable cash sum to give Bruce some much needed leverage in the transfer market.

The news came at the same time as the surprising announcement that Kevin McCabe and David Hardisty have both left the board only months after being appointed.

l The president of the German Soccer Federation, Egidius Braun, said yesterday that he is considering retirement after coming under fire from the media for his reaction to Berti Vogts' resignation as Germany's head coach on Monday. The 73-year-old is also a vice- president of Uefa.