West Brom’s medical team will be hoping that attendees of the club treatment room are kept to a low number – or none at all, where possible.
Like all other clubs in the EFL, West Brom will have to deal with missing players at various points of this season. These 46-game campaigns are gruelling and demanding, and challenge the fitness and well-being of those who seek to battle their way through it and come out the other side.
Away from absence due to health and fitness, there is the risk of suspension too. A red card will see you miss matches immediately, while accumulating yellow cards over a period of time also leads to a ban. Albion and Carlos Corberan will be looking to cope with the testing calendar ahead of them in 2023/24 and maintain as healthy a group as possible over the course of the coming months.
This is the state of play in the treatment room at the moment…
Injury: Tightness in muscle. Pieters was helped off the pitch in the goalless draw with Millwall on Saturday having started all three games since the resumption of the schedule.
What Corberan said: “No, he is tight, the muscle is very tight. He couldn’t keep playing. It looks like it’s not an injury, but I don’t know yet – I didn’t expect to have the injury to Maja and for my striker to be out for eight weeks. Hopefully we don’t lose any of our players, because we have a week to prepare the next game but then it’s Saturday, Tuesday, Friday. It’s the most demanding week that we can have.”
Estimated return date: Hopefully Corberan’s initial prognosis is correct and Pieters is available to him when they head to Preston.
Injury: Ankle injury. Maja needed helping off the pitch at the end of the goalless draw at Bristol City and supporters spotted him leaving Ashton Gate in a protective boot. He’ll be out for eight weeks from the day of the game.
What Corberan said: “The key now, the focus, is to develop the players that we have. It’s true that we couldn’t bring the player who could play as a third striker, that’s why we need to play with players who, if Asante isn’t playing, can play as a striker.”
Estimated return date: Maja isn’t expected to be back until the other side of the November international break at the earliest.
Injury: Quad injury. Reach limped off at Burton in pre-season having suffered a recurrence of the quad issue that had struck him down in April.
What Corberan said: “Always the long term injuries are emotionally difficult to manage, but it’s true – Reach has one level of maturity with which he is facing the situation. It’s a pity because in the way he came to pre-season, the effort he was putting in in the summer and the spirit he showed in the first games, it was a positive point.
“Imagine now – we have played the previous games with five, for me he is perfect to play with five. His best position, for me, is wing back. Imagine how important he could have been with this shape that we have done in the previous weeks. The players need to adapt and emotionally manage the situation. He is going to come back stronger, without any type of doubt.”
Estimated return date: Reach has undergone surgery and will be sidelined until December at the very earliest.
Injury: Achilles. Dike suffered the injury in the first half of Albion’s last win at Stoke City, and he will now be missing for a number of months after the third serious injury of his 15-month spell at Albion. He has since undergone successful surgery.
What Tony Strudwick said: “The plan was to get Daryl back around November, December time,” Strudwick added. “He’s progressing well, his operation went really well. He went to the States. He’s back in, his attitude and application has been fantastic.”
Corberan added: “It will be late December or early January when the process finishes with Dike. I prepared the squad without thinking of Dike, until January. This is our current squad, but we plan the squad to have two strikers.”
Estimated return date: It’s hard to know exactly when Dike will be back wearing an Albion shirt, but what is for sure is that it won’t be until December at the absolute earliest. With such injuries though, it could be that we’ve seen the last of Dike in 2023.
Injury: Kelly was sent on loan to Wigan for the rest of last season in January in order to play regularly again, and he turned in a man of the match performance on his debut in a goalless draw with Blackburn, but he suffered a serious knee injury towards the end of the game and required surgery and a spell on the sidelines.
What Tony Strudwick said: “The same goes for Martin Kelly, who should be back soon – he’s on the grass with the sports science team and we want him integrated back in in August. Martin, when a player gets injured, he was very deliberate in how he wanted to push it forward. He’s gone away and he’s come back in a really good space.
Estimated return date: Kelly was expected to return to first-team training in August.