West Bromwich Albion’s preparations for Saturday’s huge clash with Aston Villa have been disrupted by the news that four first team players will undergo fitness tests on the morning of the match.
Darren Moore’s side go into the game looking to get back to winning ways after Tuesday’s late draw with Nottingham Forest, but Moore could be without the services of a quartet of first team players.
“Hal Robson-Kanu, Matt Phillips, James Morrison, they’re all back in training and we’ll look at them in the morning and assess them,” Moore told the Express & Star.
“Jefferson Montero is available, we’ve given him some minutes. Hegazi, again, we’ll assess it in the morning. I’ve given him a training session today but if not and they’re available and fit, we’re giving all the players the opportunity. They’ve trained today, but we’ll see how they are.”
This is interesting for West Brom. Hegazi and Phillips have been first team regulars when fit this season and so it would be a big blow to be without them for such a big game. Morrison and Robson-Kanu, however, are not guaranteed starters so their potential absence would be less devastating. Having said that, with Dwight Gayle suspended Robson-Kanu could be in line to start if he passes his fitness test, while Morrison’s experience would be vital in the crucible that is derby day. The snippet about Montero is also interesting. The Baggies have so many loan players that they can’t have them all in their match day squad at once. However, Gayle’s suspension means that Montero will be in the squad on Saturday. It will be fascinating to see if he can rediscover his old form for West Brom. This is certainly the occasion for somebody to step up, that’s for sure.