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Thursday, September 20, 2012
Lukaku to benefit from Odemwingie red

Ian Edwards

Romelu Lukaku is primed to benefit from Peter Odemwingie's red-card madness at Fulham and make his first Premier League start for West Bromwich Albion.

Lukaku, 19, has been forced to be patient since arriving from Chelsea on loan for the season, only making appearances from the substitutes bench.

But the sending off of Odemwingie, 31, at Craven Cottage last weekend has opened up the opportunity for manager Steve Clarke to unleash the Belgium international against Reading on Saturday.

The Nigeria international starts a three-match suspension and Lukaku and Marcus Rosenburg are the two main contenders for the vacancy in the starting line-up.

"Peter is out for three games and I'll concentrate on those players we have available," Clarke said. "I will decide on the best team to play against Reading. Peter is suspended so there is an opportunity for someone.

"Yes Romelu could come into the picture. He's been in my thoughts since the minute he came into the club. I've also got Marcus Rosenberg chomping at the bit so I've got plenty to chew over before the weekend."

Despite only being limited to three substitute appearances so far at Albion, Lukaku has been hugely impressive, scoring on his debut against Liverpool, and has fully recovered from an ankle injury suffered before the recent international break.

Clarke wants an instant response from his players following the 3-0 defeat against Fulham, the club's first defeat of the season.

Reading go into the Hawthorns encounter second from bottom and are still looking for their first win since being promoted.

They have lost their last two games and conceded seven goals since their 1-1 opening-day draw with Stoke.

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