(Sporting Alert) – West Bromwich manager Steve Clarke has decided to start on loan Chelsea FC striker Romelu Lukaku in the New Year’s Barclays Premier League clash with Fulham.
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BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
Venue: The Hawthorns
Date: Tuesday, 1 January
Lukaku is usually used as a substitute, but is preferred for the starting position today with Shane Long dropping to the bench. Peter Odemwingie, Markus Rosenberg and George Thorne were also dropped by the manager, who made five changes from the side that was beaten 2-0 at Manchester United.
Marc-Antoine Fortune starts up front, Youssouf Mulumbu returns from a hamstring and James Morrison and Zoltan Gera get places in the starting XI as well.
Fulham are again without goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer is is still to recovery from a neck problem that caused him to miss the defeat to Swansea City over the weekend.
This means David Stockdale will continue to start in his place.
Striker Dimitar Berbatov, who has scored four goals in six Premier League meetings with West Brom leads the front line, while Bryan Ruiz, who scored on his return in the last outing, Ashkan Dejagah, Giorgos Karagounis and Alex Kacaniklic all start as well.
Kerim Frei drops out in midfield and is on the bench alongside Kieran Richardson and Hugo Rodallega.
West Brom have not scored a goal in their last four Premier League meetings with Fulham.
West Brom v Fulham Teams
West Brom: Foster, Jones, Tamas, McAuley, Ridgewell, Brunt, Mulumbu, Gera, Morrison, Fortune, Lukaku
Subs: Myhill, Rosenberg, Long, Thorne, Jara Reyes, Odemwingie, Dawson
Fulham: Stockdale, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Briggs, Dejagah, Sidwell, Karagounis, Kacaniklic, Ruiz, Berbatov
Subs: Etheridge, Senderos, Baird, Kasami, Richardson, Rodallega, Frei
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)