West Bromwich Albion have been dealt a blow regarding the fitness of Kean Byran ahead of their upcoming Championship clash.
In recent comments cited by Birmingham Live, Valerien Ismael revealed that the centre-back is still yet to return to full fitness after joining the club on a free transfer earlier this month, with the 24-year-old playing 45 minutes for the Baggies U23 side on Friday evening – something that would suggest that the former England U20 international will not play a part in Saturday’s trip to Preston North End.
On the defender’s current condition, the Frenchman said: “He’s playing today 45 minutes with the U23s. We have raised the intensity in his work, but we don’t want to rush it 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.”
While West Brom have not exactly been shipping goals following the injuries to centre-back duo Matt Clarke and Dara O’Shea, having conceded just once in their previous two fixtures, the continued absence of a player who was brought in ease the strain on Ismael’s defence is sure to have left the 45-year-old gutted.
Indeed, with Cedric Kipre doing nothing in the Millwall draw to convince the Albion manager he would be worthy of keeping his place for the mid-week clash with Derby County, having earned a distinctly average SofaScore match rating of 6.7 against the Lions, Ismael opted to field left-back Conor Townsend in his back three for the fixture against the Rams.
And, while Townsend performed admirably in the position, earning a SofaScore match rating of 7.3 in the 0-0 draw with Wayne Rooney’s side, it would nevertheless be preferable for the Frenchman to switch the 28-year-old back to his normal position sooner rather than later – something that the availability of Bryan would accommodate.
As such, the fact that the £1.8m-rated man does not look set to play a part on Saturday is sure to come as a major blow for the Baggies boss, who will undoubtedly be hoping his side can get back to winning ways against the Lilywhites.