STEVE Clarke has revealed defensive injuries are preventing him letting Craig Dawson go out on loan as he hailed the positive impact of George Thorne’s recent spell at Peterborough.
The Baggies boss is keen to give Dawson more game time but cannot afford to be without the England Under-21 international with Jonas Olsson (groin), Steven Reid (shin) and Goran Popov (hamstring) currently sidelined.
Meanwhile, Thorne has featured against Manchester United and Fulham after starting seven games for Peterborough and scoring his first-ever senior goal in Posh's 5-4 win over Bolton last month.
And Clarke believes Dawson would benefit from a similar stint elsewhere after making just one start and one substitute appearance in the Capital One Cup for the Baggies so far this season.
“Dawson would benefit from playing games,” he said.
“We’ve discussed it on a few occasions this season about Craig going out but at the moment we’ve got three defenders injured so there is no way Craig can leave us just now.”
Clarke added: “The loan spell has helped George very much.
“I threw him in cold at Old Trafford and he did very well.
“Even when he came into the game the other day, it was only a short spell, but he showed he’s improved and learnt.
“We got some great reports from his time at Peterborough and it was just what the boy needed.
“He needed regular football and we’re grateful to Peterborough that they gave him the chance and George has done really well.
“I’ve always known he’s had big potential but he couldn’t break into the squad earlier in the season.
“I used him in both Capital One cup ties and he just needed game time.
“Now he’s back he’s in the squad.
“We’ll keep him around the squad and if he’s not getting enough games I’d like to keep him playing.
“So, if we get to the situation where he’s not getting enough game time for us he is one we would think to put back out to keep him playing for the rest of the season.
“It’s important as a young boy that he keeps on playing.”