STEVE Clarke revealed Liam Ridgewell was forced out of today’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal due to a mystery ankle injury – and has highlighted the next seven to eight games as key to Albion’s season.
The Baggies left-back limped off after just six minutes of the Emirates Stadium encounter and was replaced by summer signing Goran Popov.
Clarke also explained he decided not to risk playing Claudio Yacob due to a minor hamstring problem the Argentina international picked up after playing three games inside eight days.
“Liam felt a pain in his ankle and it was quite a severe one,” said the Baggies boss.
“He actually felt a little bit sick as well through the pain he had so we took him off.
“Yacob picked up a little hamstring problem, probably down to the fact he had to play three games in a week, which was a tough week for us.
“He picked up a little niggle in his hamstring so we decided not to risk him.”
The Baggies remain fifth in the Barclays Premier League table after 16 games despite suffering their third successive defeat.
And Clarke believes the next seven to eight games will decide what direction his high-flying team’s season takes.
“We’ve had a terrific run in the league,” he added.
“It stopped ten days ago.
“We’ve now lost three.
“But I’ve said to the players if they continue doing what they have until now the next seven or eight games will shape our season.
“And I’ve got no doubts it will be a really good season for West Bromwich Albion.”