STEVE Clarke has revealed Zoltan Gera missed tonight’s 3-1 defeat at Swansea due to a groin problem – but admitted he may have rested him anyway.
The 33-year-old Hungary international now faces a race against time to be fit for Saturday’s home clash with Stoke (ko 3pm) – the Baggies' third game in eight days.
Steven Reid also did not travel as Clarke felt the right-back, who has only recently returned from two months on the sidelines with hamstring problems, would benefit more from further training than sitting on the bench at the Liberty Stadium.
Meanwhile, Ben Foster, who will miss the Potters clash, underwent minor surgery on his right groin on Tuesday after earlier this month having the other groin operated on.
“Steven is okay,” said the Albion boss.
“I took him all the way to Sunderland, which is a long trip, and he didn’t play.
“I looked at the team last night and decided he wouldn’t figure so he stayed at home and did a little extra training, which was normal.
“Zoltan had a niggle in his groin and we decided not to risk him.
“Maybe three games in a week would be a big ask for Zoltan anyway so we decided to use the squad as wisely as we could.
“We made one or two changes and it didn’t work for us, so we move on.”
Clarke has now called on his fourth-placed men to bounce back against the Potters at the weekend – and saw signs of encouragement in their second-half display in South Wales.
“Of course we will respond,” he added.
“We didn’t play well in the first 45 minutes of the game but we responded at half-time so they have already started to respond.
“It’s football, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.
“We lost tonight and we deserved to lose but we will move on.
“There’s another game on Saturday and we will be ready.
“I think our players knew how hard the league was anyway and I know the Albion supporters are a knowledgeable bunch.
“They know it’s a tough league and they know there will always be nights like tonight when things don’t go your way.
“It’s about how you respond and I look forward to Saturday’s game now to see how we respond.”