Club News

Downing puts squad on alert

And caretaker boss urges patience with Sinclair

KEITH Downing admits it is a huge bonus to have a near-fully fit squad to choose from as Albion's hectic Christmas schedule kicks in.

The 16th-placed Baggies head to Tottenham on Boxing Day (ko 3pm) and less than 48 hours later visit West Ham (ko 12.45pm) before a New Year's Day clash with Newcastle (ko 3pm).

And Downing has put all his players on alert for action, with only Victor Anichebe (groin) a doubt for the White Hart Lane trip.

“My first day I had 23 fit players, so trying to organise a coaching session for them was tough," said the caretaker boss.

"They were all back fit and raring to go heading into the Christmas period. 

"We play West Ham less than 48 hours after the 26th, so we will need all the players."

Downing has also urged patience with Scott Sinclair as the winger looks to get back up to Barclays Premier League speed.

The on-loan Manchester City man made his first start in ten weeks in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Hull following a hamstring injury - but was replaced by Saido Berahino at half time.

“Scott's had a fantastic ten to 14 days, which had led him into selection for Saturday’s game," added Downing.

"He’s had injuries here and there and we have to be patient with Scott. 

"I’ve seen him play and be fantastic. 

"We’ve got total faith in him. 

"He’s a good footballer, he just needs time."