West Bromwich Albion Vs Tottenham Hotspur, Sat 11 Sep 2010

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West Brom defender Jonas Olsson believes it could be an advantage to play the difficult teams first in the Barclays Premier League season.

The Baggies were thrashed on the opening day at champions Chelsea and have since lost at Liverpool.

They face Tottenham at The Hawthorns on Saturday, but Olsson thinks it is better to face hard games early in the season.

He said: "I don't think you have to just get these games out of the way, because then you've already lost them. I think we have to look at it as an advantage to play them in the beginning.

"Traditionally new teams take more points from the top teams at the beginning of the season.

"When they're out of the way, so to speak, we have a slightly easier programme in the spring than a few other teams."

Olsson believes Spurs are a great side and are strengthened by qualifying for the Champions League.

"Of course, they're a great team. They did very well last year.

"They're one of the biggest sides in the league and you want to play against those teams. We're looking forward to it.

"We've got to focus on our bit and try to get three points. We're strong at home, no matter who comes here."

West Brom could be without creative midfielder Graham Dorrans for the game.

Dorrans is fit, but may not play due to what manager Roberto Di Matteo calls "personal reasons".

Midfielder James Morrison is suspended after being sent off in the defeat at Anfield, but Jerome Thomas may return after recovering from a foot injury.

Defender Joe Mattock (foot), striker Ishmael Miller (thigh) and defender Marek Cech (foot) will also miss out.

Paul Scharner could be in line for his Baggies debut after playing an hour of a reserve-team match on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Harry Redknapp is ready to hand William Gallas and Rafael van der Vaart their Tottenham debuts as he prepares to rotate his squad for their maiden Champions League campaign.

Spurs boss Redknapp admits he may have blundered in not making changes for the shock 1-0 defeat to Wigan last time out following the club's historic European victory over Young Boys.

And with their hectic schedule set to continue between now and at least December, Redknapp is ready to make full use of his squad, starting at the Hawthorns.

He said: "Obviously, we play Saturday; then we play Champions League Tuesday; then in the league on Saturday; then we play Arsenal in the Carling Cup; then the league and another Champions League. We've got a busy schedule.

"The one thing I did learn - a lesson - last week was maybe I should've changed the team that played against Wigan.

"We went to Stoke and had a great result on the Saturday, came back, won the Champions League qualifier with Young Boys.

"And then I really went with the same team, more or less, on the Saturday against Wigan.

"Maybe I should've rested one or two and changed a few around, and it might have worked better for us.

"It's easy, in hindsight, to look back on those things."

Redknapp has selection dilemmas all over the field this weekend, starting in goal.

With Heurelho Gomes likely to miss out again with a groin injury, Redknapp must decide whether to hand a reprieve to Carlo Cudicini following the latter's costly error against Wigan or give a debut to Stipe Pletikosa.

Gallas appears certain to start at the heart of defence following Michael Dawson's injury playing for England.

And Redknapp has no qualms about throwing the former Arsenal captain in at the deep end.

He said: "You don't play in teams that win championships, like he did at Chelsea, you don't play for your country as many times as he has - been there and done it all - unless you're a top player.

"He's got a bit of pace, he's a great defender, and he'll be a big asset. I think he'll be a great signing for us."

Redknapp may not risk skipper Ledley King's notoriously-fragile knees ahead of Tuesday's Champions League Group A opener at Werder Bremen, which would mean a recall for Sebastien Bassong.

Midfield and attack pose the most interesting conundrum for the Spurs boss.

With Luka Modric now fit, Redknapp could choose between the Croatian and Van der Vaart.

Or he might field both and play a lone striker, especially as his forward options have been depleted by the loss of Jermain Defoe for around three months.

Sandro may also be handed his debut at some stage, with Redknapp having left the Brazilian out of his Champions League squad in order to get him up to speed in the Premier League.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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