JOLEON Lescott is set to return to full training next week – but Alan Irvine insists he will not rush him back into action and risk losing him to long-term injury.
The summer signing has been ruled out of Saturday’s game with Sunderland (ko 3pm) due to the knee injury he picked up at Nottingham Forest 12 days ago.
James Morrison (knee) is already back in training but the Black Cats clash comes too soon for him.
Gareth McAuley (calf) is in contention to make the Baggies squad for the Hawthorns encounter but Irvine remains cautious over the centre-back’s return to action.
“It’s important that we make sure we bring Joleon back in at the right moment,” said the Baggies boss.
“He was desperate to get back in and make sure he was ready for the start of the season and probably, with hindsight, he came back a little bit too early.
“But what do you do when a senior player is that desperate to play and says he’s okay?
“It’s difficult for the medical people to override that.
“This time we’re being a little bit more cautious to make sure that he’s definitely ready for when he comes back.
“We expect him to train with the group next week and we’ll take it from there but the most important thing is that Joleon is available for most of the season, so if he misses a couple of games now, so be it.”