00:26 27th September 2012
Clarke sweating on defensive trio ahead of derby day
STEVE Clarke faces an injury headache in the full-back positions ahead of Sunday’s derby clash with Villa (ko 4pm) after Liam Ridgewell limped off with a calf problem in tonight’s 2-1 Capital One Cup defeat by Liverpool.
The Baggies boss was already without regular right-back Steven Reid (hamstring) and new signing Goran Popov (groin) due to injury heading into the third-round tie.
And when Ridgewell came off in the 22nd minute he was forced to reshuffle his backline by bringing centre-half Craig Dawson on at right-back and switching Billy Jones to the opposite side.
Clarke is now keeping his fingers crossed for a fitness boost from his injured defensive trio to improve his options for the Villa Park date.
“I’ve not had an in-depth analysis of Liam’s injury,” he said.
“He felt something on his calf and he went off.
“That left us a little bit short in the full-back areas because Reid and Popov were out.
“The full-back areas are a concern for the weekend.
“We’ll assess what we’ve got tomorrow and if I can get one or two from the treatment room onto the training pitch I’ll do that.
“If not, we’ll just deal with it.
“It would be a blow to lose Liam because he’s played every game for us and he’s one of the steady players in the team.
“It would be disappointing for Liam to miss the Villa game - and it would certainly be disappointing for us as well.”