West Bromwich Albion have one less injury concern as Matt Clarke has returned to full training, Valerien Ismael has revealed.
The Baggies have been struck down by multiple setbacks to players since the start of the season, with their defence being badly affected.
Ireland international Dara O’Shea picked up a long-term ankle injury whilst on international duty and before that it was Matt Clarke who faced a period on the sidelines.
The Brighton & Hove Albion loanee started three games for West Brom before being withdrawn before half-time against Blackburn Rovers in August after picking up a hamstring injury.
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Clarke has missed every match since and in the absence of both him and O’Shea, Ismael secured the signing of free agent Kean Bryan to add some more balance to the back-line as a left footer – something which Clarke also provides.
Thankfully for Ismael he will be able to call on Clarke once again very soon as he offered an update on the 25-year-old before Albion visit Cardiff City tomorrow night.
“We have some players missing still, but they’re getting better and better,” Ismael revealed, per BirminghamLive.
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“Rayhaan (Tulloch) is back in training, Ken (Zohore) is back in training, Matty Clarke is now in full training with the team – it’s just the right time now, when is the right time, he needs to get that feeling too.
“If we have the possibility he can play earlier we will, but we need that feeling that we had with Kean Bryan.”
Clarke’s imminent return is a big boost for Ismael and West Brom although there’s still a chance he isn’t seen until after the international break.
Ismael will not want to rush Clarke back too quickly in case he breaks down again and in Bryan he has adequate cover for now.
Considering he started the season with a separate injury though, there will be hope that Clarke isn’t plagued all season with little niggles and that he can get back to full fitness.
It would be a surprise to see Clarke tomorrow night or at the weekend, but stranger things have happened.