West Bromwich Albion manager Valerien Ismael has revealed that whilst Kean Bryan is making progress in terms of his fitness, he is unwilling to rush the defender into first-team action.
The 24-year-old joined the Baggies earlier this month on a free transfer after opting to part ways with Sheffield United following the club’s relegation from the Premier League.
Yet to feature for West Brom’s senior side since making the move to The Hawthorns, Bryan did make an appearance for the club’s Under-23’s in their clash with Aston Villa last Friday.
The defender was substituted in the second-half of this fixture as the Baggies suffered a 4-2 defeat in the Premier League 2 Division 2.
In Bryan’s absence, West Brom were unable to get back to winning ways in the Championship on Saturday as they were forced to settle for a point in their showdown with Preston North End.
Currently third in the Championship, the Baggies will move above Fulham and AFC Bournemouth in the standings if they beat Queens Park Rangers on Friday.
Making reference to Bryan, Ismael has admitted that he is unwilling to take any risks with the defender.
Speaking to the Express and Star about the defender, the West Brom boss said: “He (Bryan) played with the under-23s.
“We have raised the intensity in his workload.
“I think he is on the right way, but we don’t want to rush him and take any risks.
“We need to get that feeling that he is ready to compete and help us.
“At the minute we have found a solution.
“We have some time.
“We are happy at the minute, the improvement in the training sessions, the understanding of our way to play.
“The under-23s play the same way as us so it was a good test for him.”
When you consider that Bryan didn’t participate in pre-season, it is hardly a surprise that Ismael is reluctant to throw him into West Brom’s starting eleven as he may not be ready to feature at senior level.
By giving the defender time to build up his fitness with the club’s Under-23 side, the Frenchman could minimise the risk of a potential setback.
Whilst Bryan only managed to record an average WhoScored match rating of 6.55 in the Premier League last season, he could potentially thrive in a lower division for the Baggies.
The defender’s presence may also force the likes of Semi Ajayi, Cedric Kipre and Kyle Bartley to step up their performance levels in the coming weeks which could have a positive impact on the club’s fortunes in the second-tier.