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O'Shea on brink of the big-time as Baggies bid to secure their promotion


Dara O’Shea. Photo: Getty Images

Dara O’Shea. Photo: Getty Images

Dara O’Shea. Photo: Getty Images

The rise of Ireland U-21 international Dara O'Shea could move to another level tonight if West Brom can get the job done against QPR and book a Premier League return.

Slaven Bilic's side lost control of their destiny last weekend with defeat to Huddersfield that put Brentford in pole position but the Londoners slipped up at Stoke to leave West Brom a point clear heading into the season climax.

Dubliner O'Shea (21) has become an important member of Bilic's side this season. He was always well regarded at The Hawthorns and loan spells at Hereford and Exeter prepared the St Kevin's Boys product for a breakthrough campaign.

O'Shea made his league debut in December, mainly featuring at right back even though he would be better known as a centre-half. He has scored three times since penning a new deal in January.

His Ireland U-21 defensive partner Conor Masterson will be on the opposing side tonight, after scoring his first senior goal in their weekend success over Millwall.

Harry Arter and Cyrus Christie were given positive mention by Stephen Kenny earlier this month and the Fulham duo are hoping for improbable slips from West Brom and Brentford to open the door for them. Realistically, the play-offs will determine if that duo can become top-flight players again.

They travel to Wigan tonight for a fixture that is wrapped up in the drama surrounding the relegation battle that may continue beyond the conclusion of play, an almighty scrap with significant Irish interest.

The EFL have said that Wigan will be hit with a 12-point deduction after the games finish as a punishment for entering administration, yet that will be subject to appeal.

If that were applied now, Wigan would enter tonight's matches third from bottom, needing a victory and hoping that either Luton (home to Blackburn) and Charlton (away to champions Leeds) failed to win.

However, the sides immersed in the battle to avoid the drop effectively have to prepare as though Wigan will not be sanctioned and then see what unfolds thereafter.

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Luton, who have James Collins and ex-Irish U-21 international Glen Rea in their ranks, have an inferior goal difference to Aiden McGeady and Josh Cullen's Charlton, so they have to better their result.

But there are other clubs in the equation too. Middlesbrough (away to Sheffield Wednesday) and Birmingham (home to Derby) are two points ahead of Charlton and Luton so defeats for either side would make them vulnerable. Scott Hogan has scored seven times for Birmingham since his loan move from Aston Villa.

The other unlikely players in the relegation equation are 23rd placed Barnsley who sit two points behind Luton and Charlton and need a miracle to survive.

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