West Brom aim to honour Jeff Astle Day in style against Leicester
For West Bromwich Albion, a win against Midlands rivals Leicester City would mean much more than just claiming an important three points, as the club celebrates Jeff Astle Day.
A former Baggies frontman and 1968 FA Cup final hero, Astle is being duly honoured at The Hawthorns, as his family launch the Jeff Astle Foundation, a charity dedicated to research into sports-related brain injuries.
Albion (21/20 favourites with Coral to triumph) will showcase a special vintage kit in the clash, with current players turning out in white shirts and shorts, plus red socks; the same style that Astle and co wore back in their famous 1968 FA Cup-winning season.
Captain Chris Brunt spoke ahead of the special match, stating: “He is an iconic figure for this club and someone everybody knows about and I’m sure the fans will all support the cause, but three points on the day would be the icing on the cake.”
It is fitting that the Baggies will battle the Foxes (13/5 to win) on such an occasion, as club legend Astle made his debut against Leicester back in 1964, so West Brom will be eager to secure a result for his family and fans.
The hosts are a tempting 23/10 to split the spoils, but do have a fine recent record against their rivals, winning all four of their last tussles across all competitions.
Another ex-Albion forward, Gary Thompson, weighed in on the debate over which player should claim Astle’s iconic number nine for the duel, plumping for Brown Ideye over Saido Berahino.
“It’s a tough shirt to wear on the day, for sure. But Saido is never going to be a number nine in the traditional sense. He’s always going to be better playing off a front man.
“The fans that turn up on Saturday want a big man in the middle to carry that shirt. Jeff Astle was that big man, although he wasn’t just a lamp post to be fair!”
Whoever wears the shirt, West Brom are available at 5/1 to score three or more, with Ideye an excellent 5/1 to fire home first, and Burundi-born Berahino the same price to have the final say. Fellow forward Victor Anichebe is also expected to play a part and is 7/4 to strike anytime.
As for Leicester, their survival struggles continue and, despite the Baggies’ recent wobbles, they appear unlikely to snatch what would be only their third away victory of the season.
Foxes forwards David Nugent and Jamie Vardy are 11/4 and 7/2 in the anytime market, while Leonardo Ulloa (8/1 to draw first blood) and Andre Kramaric (the same price to hit home last) are also more than capable of spoiling West Brom’s celebrations.