So tomorrow’s FA Cup clash with Brighton could be a glimpse into the future for Baggies fans.
It may be one of the most prestigious knockout competitions in the world – but the reality is Albion and Ismael have to prioritise winning promotion to the Premier League this season.
And that means – just as he did in the League Cup – the boss is likely to name a drastically-changed side for the visit of the Seagulls.
In goal, David Button will surely start. It’s highly likely the 32-year-old would have anyway.
But with the visit of Brighton the start of a three-game ban for Sam Johnstone, it’s now imperative Button gets some game time and dusts off the cobwebs ahead of the Championship games against QPR and Peterborough.
In the back three, Brighton loanee Matt Clarke is ineligible to play against his parent club. And Ismael is also unlikely to want to risk Kyle Bartley – with Semi Ajayi having now joined up with Nigeria for the African Cup of Nations.
That means youngster Caleb Taylor will likely get his second outing of the season, while Cedric Kipre could also start due to a lack of numbers.
Who joins those two, though, is anyone’s guess with Darnell Furlong a possibility on the right side of the back three.
That would allow Taylor Gardner-Hickman to continue at right wing-back with Adam Reach on the left.
In central midfield, Alex Mowatt is suspended while Jayson Molumby also can’t face Brighton under the terms of his loan.
That means skipper Jake Livermore will likely have to play.
If fit, Robert Snodgrass could join him. The former Scotland international is believed to have been made available for transfer. But Ismael may fancy putting him in the shop window.
If not, summer recruit Quevin Castro may get another chance to show what he can do.
Up front, fans would love to see Reyes Cleary given a chance – with the 17-year-old having been in prolific form for Albion’s under-23s this season.
But, if fit, Ismael could give a rare start to Kenneth Zohore – in the hope it may lead to some interest in the out-of-favour centre-forward.
Either side of the central striker, Tom Fellows will hopefully get another opportunity.
The youngster impressed off the bench against Derby.
But he struggled when given a first league start against Cardiff.
And it would be good to see him given another chance to show what he can do.
Fellow academy graduate Rayhaan Tulloch is another player who will be hoping for some minutes out wide.
The 20-year-old could then go out loan – with a host of clubs in League One believed to be interested.