West Bromwich Albion have been handed a huge fitness setback ahead of their upcoming Championship clash.
That’s according to a Joseph Masi report for the Express & Star, with the journalist revealing that West Brom will be without all four of Cedric Kipre, Semi Ajayi, Matt Clarke and Conor Townsend for the trip to Barnsley on Friday evening.
Masi goes on to state that all four defenders recently tested positive for the ongoing viral pandemic, and, although two of the four will end their isolation period on the day of the fixture, none of the quartet are expected to feature at Oakwell.
While it is no fault of the players, the fact that four of his first-team defenders are unavailable for selection on Friday will nevertheless have left Valerien Ismael livid.
The loss of both Townsend and Clarke will come as a huge blow to the 46-year-old Albion manager, as the defensive duo have been two of the Baggies’ most impressive performers so far this season.
Indeed, over his 21 Championship appearances this term, the £2.25m-rated Townsend has helped his side keep eight clean sheets, registered two assists and created seven big chances for his teammates, as well as averaging a SofaScore match rating of 7.10.
As such, being without the pair for the trip to Barnsley on Friday evening, in addition to missing both Kipre and Ajayi, will undoubtedly reduce Albion’s chance of picking up all three points from the fixture – something that could well see the Baggies fall further behind in the race for a top-two finish this season.