Club News

Mixed injury news for Baggies

And boss mulls over fall-out from internationals

JAMES Morrison is a doubt for Saturday’s Barclays Premier League opener with Liverpool after returning from international duty with an ankle problem.

The Baggies midfielder came off after 27 minutes of Scotland’s 3-1 win over Australia in Edinburgh and is today being assessed by the club’s medical staff.

Shane Long is fit to face the Reds after revealing reports he was injured for the Republic of Ireland’s 2-0 defeat in Serbia were misleading.

But the game is likely to come too soon for new signing Markus Rosenberg as he continues to play catch-up on his fitness.

“Morrison has just walked into the building and is being assessed,” said Clarke.

“He came off after 27 minutes.

“He rolled his ankle slightly and until the doctor’s assessed him I really can’t comment as to whether he’ll be available at the weekend or not.

“But he came off the pitch really quickly, which is good, and it’s good that Scotland got him off quickly because that gives him more time to recover.

“I got a text from Shane last night saying there was a communication mix-up.

“He didn’t train the day before the game but on the day of the game he told the manager he was fit for selection – and he wasn’t selected to start the game.

“As far as I’m aware, Shane will be fit for the weekend.”

Clarke was disappointed his first-choice centre-half pairing of Jonas Olsson and Gareth McAuley both played 90 minutes in friendlies for Sweden and Northern Ireland respectively last night.

And he confirmed Olsson did pick up a knock in the game against Brazil.

“I’ve got other players who played 90 minutes, which is not very good, given the fact they are pre-season friendlies and no-one needs to play 90 minutes,” the Albion chief added.

“The international managers have a responsibility to look after the club players.

“It’s upset me a little bit because two experienced central defenders certainly didn’t need 90 minutes of football with their countries just before the opening of the Premier League.

“You can make a lot of substitutions in an international friendly and I don’t know why they would be asked to play 90 minutes.

“It needs a bit of give and take in a week like this.

“I think Jonas picked up a knock playing for Sweden but until he reports back later today for training at 4pm we won’t know exactly what it is.

“I spoke briefly to the doctor this morning and he told me all the knocks are minor and hopefully will clear up within 48 hours – fingers crossed.”

Clarke was delighted to hear new loan signing Romelu Lukaku enjoyed a confidence-boosting performance as a 63rd-minute substitute for Belgium, after scoring the third in their 4-2 win over Holland.

“We had someone watching Romelu and we got good reports,” he said.

“He scored the goal and turned the game in favour of Belgium.”

And the Baggies boss has also provided an update on Graham Dorrans’ situation.

“I spoke to Graham this morning,” he added.

“Graham, his wife and baby daughter are in a much better place this week than they were last week.

“All we could do was give him and his family time and space, and the media respected his privacy, which is fantastic.

“The news is much better than it was this time last week.”