Unbeaten West Bromwich Albion have been dealt an immediate blow with the news that Matt Clarke will spend six weeks on the sidelines.
The summer signing on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion was forced off the pitch away at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday just before half-time and replaced by Semi Ajayi.
Clarke already missed the season opening match against AFC Bournemouth with a hip issue but this time it was a problem with his hamstring that led to his withdrawal.
The extent of the 24-year-old’s issue has now been determined and now Clarke looks set to be missing for between five and six weeks, according to Ismael (via the Express & Star).
Quiz: Have West Brom won or lost more against each of these 25 English teams?
It means that he will be absent for a big Carabao Cup clash against Arsenal tomorrow evening and also for at least West Brom’s next six Championship fixtures, leaving Ismael to select from Ajayi and Cedric Kipre to be his replacement on the left side of the back three.
Despite only featuring in a few games so far, Clarke’s absence will be a huge blow for the next month at least will be a big blow.
Clarke brings a calmness on the ball but most importantly a lot of balance to the defence by being the only left-footer at the back.
Whilst it’s not a necessity to have a left-footed player there it certainly helps and when Championship defenders are discussed in terms of ability, Clarke is up there with the best of them.
It could be argued that the Baggies don’t have much in terms of cover when they lose one to injury – Cedric Kipre isn’t the most convincing and you’d imagine that Semi Ajayi will be the one to fill Clarke’s shoes, and that’s not a bad replacement by any stretch.