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Shan feels the finishing line is in sight for West Brom

The Baggies ended the regular season in fourth place.

West Bromwich Albion caretaker boss James Shan wants his team fully focused (Nick Potts/PA)
West Bromwich Albion caretaker boss James Shan wants his team fully focused (Nick Potts/PA)

West Brom caretaker boss James Shan believes his side are ready to take care of business as they head into the first leg of their Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final against Aston Villa.

The Baggies ended the regular season in fourth place, some nine points off automatic promotion.

Shan took over from Darren Moore at the start of March, but was unable to claw back lost ground as Sheffield United went on to secure a return to the Premier League behind champions Norwich, as Leeds’ challenge faded.

There is, though, plenty of football left in the 2018-2019 Championship campaign – with Derby also hunting down the last remaining place in the top flight as they prepare to meet Leeds.

Given the unpredictability of the play-offs – where West Brom will face a Villa side which had won a club-record 10 straight games to cement their own top-six finish – Shan is determined to keep the squad focused on what got them this far.

“Anybody we would face would be a competitive game,” Shan said.

“We could play anyone in the division and we would still have that intensity and focus.”

Shan added at a press conference: “Everyone is aware of the magnitude of the game.

“It is the business end of the season, the finishing line is in sight. We have got to take care of our business.

“It will be a special occasion, and one we are looking to embrace.”

Shan confirmed forward Hal Robson-Kanu will not be available for any of the play-off fixtures as he starts a three-match suspension.

Wales international Robson-Kanu was shown a red card for lashing out at Derby midfielder Bradley Johnson in the closing stages of the last Championship match of the regular campaign, which West Brom lost 3-1.

The Baggies had been considering an appeal to see if the length of ban could be reduced, which would have opened up the possibility of Robson-Kanu being available for a potential trip to Wembley.

However, the club decided against an approach to the Football Association on the grounds of the punishment being excessive.

Captain Chris Brunt is expected to return to the side having been rested for the final-day match against Derby, when another yellow card would have seen him subject to a ban.

Shan feels West Brom have enough cover to cope with the loss of Robson-Kanu.

“With him being ruled out, we have been looking at ways and means to get different personnel into that position and that key area,” the Baggies caretaker boss said. “Maybe these people do things differently to him.”

Midfielder Jake Livermore continues to be assessed on the foot problem which has kept him out of the past four matches.

PA

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