West Bromwich Albion have been handed a triple blow ahead of their upcoming Carabao Cup fixture.
In recent comments cited by the Express & Star, Valerien Ismael revealed that on-loan Brighton & Hove Albion centre-back Matt Clarke will miss up to six weeks of action as a result of a hamstring injury, which the defender picked up in the 2-1 win at Blackburn Rovers last weekend.
The Frenchman also confirmed that a further two Albion players are set to miss the EFL Cup tie against Arsenal on Wednesday evening due to illness, although the 45-year-old did not name these two players.
Speaking specifically about the centre-back’s injury, Ismael said: “We received yesterday the information that he will miss a lot of games – five to six weeks.
“We need to deal with the situation. It’s bad news for us, but it is what it is. You can’t influence injuries or [illness]. They’re two situations we have to deal with.
“It’s a good thing that the season is very long in the Championship, so we’ll see him soon.”
Speaking about the further two absentees, the Frenchman added: “They need to isolate. It’s a medical case so I can’t give the information.
“[The pandemic] is always a worry at the minute. You cannot control this. You can only get the jab and make sure you do the right thing, but we knew from the beginning we had to deal with injuries and [illness].
“We’ll deal with the situation and next week is an international break, so we’ll have more time to get the players back.”
While the Carabao Cup is not likely to be a competition that the West Brom manager is prioritising during a season in which his side are pushing for automatic promotion from the Championship, the absence of Clarke, as well as the two unnamed players, will undoubtedly have left Ismael devastated.
Indeed, while it is not the end of the world that the 24-year-old centre-back will miss the cup tie, the fact that he will also miss a number of league games for the club is sure to come as a considerable blow to the 45-year-old, as Clarke has highly impressed since joining the club earlier this summer.
Over his three Championship appearances for West Brom, the defender has made an average of 2.3 interceptions, one tackle, 2.7 clearances and has won a whopping 7.3 duels per game, with these returns earning the £2.7m-rated man an average SofaScore match rating of 7.03.
Meanwhile, it is difficult to comment how much of an impact the two unnamed absentees will have on the Arsenal fixture, however, the fact that Ismael’s selection options have been reduced by their unavailability will nevertheless cause an annoyance for the Albion boss, regardless of their standing in the first team.