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Key injury update revealed as Kyle Bartley targets West Brom return

Birmingham Mail logo Birmingham Mail 18/01/2022 Joseph Chapman

Valerien Ismael hopes to have Kyle Bartley back in time for West Brom’s meeting with Peterborough United on Saturday after the centre half missed the defeat at QPR on Saturday.

Defender Bartley limped through the closing stages of the FA Cup tie with Brighton the weekend before after taking a kick to the ankle, and he was one of five centre halves to miss the trip to Loftus Road - doubt had been cast on his participation by Ismael in the build up.

Cedric Kipre will return to the squad after the completion of his one-match suspension, but Bartley’s swift recovery and return would be another fillip to Ismael, as he seeks to bring together his squad at full strength for the remainder of the Championship season.

Bartley will need minutes in training this week, of course, to be considered, but Ismael is optimistic that can happen.

“We hope he comes back next week. Normally the injury is seven to 10 days so we hope he comes back next week to have another possibility,” he said of Bartley.

“Cedric Kipre will be back, but it’s not enough – we need every player, a strong team and a strong bench, and when you have that you can compete in a top game like that with the best XI, but at the minute we have to find solutions.”

Charlie Austin’s winner at the death condemned Albion to their sixth defeat of the season - all of them have come on the road, and all of them since October.

It’s not just the defeats, though; Albion have scored just THREE goals away from The Hawthorns in their last nine away games, and two of those came in the same half of football in their only win on the road in that time - at Coventry City before Christmas.

The venture to the capital to take on a side who were directly beneath them in the league table was an opportunity to both address that dreadful form and directly hamper the promotion hopes of a rival. Instead it was they who suffered.

Again, Ismael reiterated his desire and need to possess as strong a hand as he possibly can in terms of personnel.

“I agree at the minute we are not able at the minute to win games, to score goals and have an impact on the performance on the game when we are on top – to punish the opponent,” Ismael admitted, “but the main problem is that we don’t have the best team to pick.

“You prepare all week, you try and find a solution and then it’s another one and another one. It’s easier at the beginning when we played with all the players to just focus on the games and what we have to do. There is a big challenge at the minute.”

READ MORE: Ismael drops a Jordan Hugill hint as he explains his absence

READ MORE: Albion boss explains what 'really frustrated' him at QPR

What else do you think Albion need in the January transfer window? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below...

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