West Bromwich Albion manager Valerien Ismael has dropped an update on the fitness of both Matt Clarke and Kean Bryan.
In recent comments cited by the Express & Star, the Baggies boss revealed that Clarke, who had initially been ruled out of action for a further four weeks due to a hamstring injury, is ahead of schedule in his recovery and could be involved with the first team once again in a little over seven days’ time.
The Frenchman added that, while Bryan is not quite ready for first team football just yet, the centre-back could be set for his West Brom debut against Derby County on Tuesday.
Regarding Clarke, the 45-year-old said: “Matt Clarke is out [of the Millwall game] but there are good signs he might come back earlier. We don’t want to rush him, but we see very good performances from him in training, the sessions he’s made so far. We’ll see in the next seven or eight days.”
On the availability of Bryan, Ismael continued: “We’ll see now day by day, but we have to build him up, we have a plan for him. Our sports science guys have done a great job so far. For sure it’ll be too soon for Millwall, that is clear. But we will see if it’s a case for Tuesday or for next Saturday.”
With Dara O’Shea having recently been ruled out of action for up to six months with a fractured ankle, the news that both Clarke and Bryan are close to being available for selection is sure to have left West Brom fans buzzing.
Indeed, considering how impressive both O’Shea and Clarke have been in the heart of the West Brom defence so far this season – with the Republic of Ireland international averaging a SofaScore match rating of 7.26 over his five Championship appearances, and the Brighton loanee earning a 7.03 rating over his three league fixtures – losing both defenders to injury is undoubtedly a huge blow for the club.
However, with new signing Bryan looking set to make his debut for the Baggies next week, and Clarke appearing well ahead of schedule in his recovery from injury, the loss of O’Shea could well be considerably softened in the coming days, albeit not in time for the Millwall clash today. The impending availability of the defensive duo is undoubtedly fantastic news for all involved with West Brom.