Defensive issues for Di Matteo
Roberto Di Matteo admits West Brom's defence is down to the bare bones ahead of the Manchester United game.
By Elliot Ball
Last Updated: 30/12/10 11:31am
Roberto Di Matteo admits West Bromwich Albion's defence is down to the bare bones following suspensions to key members of their back four.
The Baggies play host to Premier League leaders Manchester United on Saturday but they will be without three key components of their backline.
Central defender Gabriel Tamas will commence a three-match ban this weekend after being issued a red card in the 3-1 defeat to Blackburn Rovers at The Hawthorns on Tuesday.
Tamas will also be joined by right-back Gonzalo Jara, who picked up his fifth caution of the season, incurring a one-match suspension.
Di Matteo already has Jonas Olsson sidelined with a long-term Achilles injury and the Italian tactician has been forced to recall Gianni Zuiverloon from his loan spell at Ipswich to ease the defensive shortage.
And the Albion head coach said: "Gabi (Tamas) is a big loss with Jonas already out.
"But Jara will also be suspended against United so we are struggling a bit at the back at the moment."
Pablo Ibanez looks set to replace Tamas as the only other senior centre-back and he will partner Paul Scharner.
Ibanez has not started a game since the 3-0 home defeat against Stoke in November and he is likely to come up against the division's deadliest marksman in Dimitar Berbatov who has 14 goals to his name this season.
West Brom's consolation is that influential midfielder Chris Brunt will be available after serving a one-match suspension in the Rovers reverse.