West Bromwich Albion are dancing to the tune of Slaven Bilic ahead of their clash with Preston North End
West Bromwich Albion’s players have certainly bought into Slaven Bilic’s methods on the pitch, if not his musical tastes.
The Baggies will arrive at Deepdale to face Preston North End tonight (7.45pm) on the back of some strong form, with them having won the last four.
In fact they are unbeaten in eight matches as they set their sights on getting back to the Premier Division, this their second season out of it.
Bilic got the Albion job in June, bringing to an end a near three-month search for a successor to Darren Moore.
They tried and failed for Alex Neil in April,then turned to Bilic in the close season who was available having had a short-lived stint managing in Saudi Arabia.
Bilic has got the Hawthorns outfit dancing to his tune which is a rather loud one.
In an interview with MOTD Kickabout, Baggies striker Charlie Austin said: “He’s mad for Metallica – he likes to put it on in the changing room.
“Only a select few – when I say select few, probably 1%, of the changing room deep down likes his music – but nobody wants to say anything, because he’s the boss!”
Having heavy metal music ringing in their ears seems to be an inspiration.
Albion’s last defeat was back on October 1 at Leeds, the side they are aiming to knock off the summit – they come to Deepdale a point behind the leaders.
Bilic had to be busy in the transfer market after taking the job having lost some key players in the summer.
Dwight Gayle returned to Newcastle after spending last season on loan in the Midlands.
Jay Rodriguez who had formed a successful strike partnership with Gayle, was sold to Burnley.
Centre-half Craig Dawson went to Watford to leave a hole in the back line.
On the recruitment front, Austin came in for £4m from Southampton and Kenneth Zohore from Cardiff to help cover the loss of Gayle and Rodriguez.
Romaine Sawyers was an astute signing from Brentford, while West Brom played the loan market well.
Mathieus Pereira was borrowed from Sporting Lisbon and Grady Diangana from West Ham.
Both have settled well at the Hawthorns, Pereira on target in last week’s 4-1 win over Bristol City – Kieran Gibbs, Hal Robson-Kanu and Austin were the others on the scoresheet.
A familiar face to Preston fans in the Albion line-up will be goalkeeper Sam Johsntone.
Born in Preston and raised in Leyland, Johnstone had two loan spells with North End.
The first was a successful one to say the least, with him in the side which won the League One play-off final at Wembley in May 2015.
He came on loan from Manchester United for the second-half of that season and was a safe pair of hands in that memorable season.
Johnstone returned for a short spell the following January.
The Baggies signed him from United for £6.5m in July 2018 after he'd had two loan spells with Midlands rivals Aston Villa.