Clarke turns to youngsters as he reveals Long is not only injury doubtSTEVE Clarke has revealed injuries mean he will hand 16-year-old midfielder Isaiah Brown a place in his travelling squad to face Chelsea on Saturday (ko 3pm).
The Baggies boss is also set to involve 21-year-old forward Romaine Sawyers due to doubts over three senior players, including Shane Long, who he hopes will return to the practice pitch tomorrow after suffering an ankle injury against Sunderland.
Brown, who has been handed squad No.43, joined Albion’s Academy three years ago and has made a rapid rise into the Under-21s team this term.
The England Under-17s international also last week scored his first international goal in the Under-16s’ 4-3 friendly defeat by Germany.
Clarke said: “We’ve got some doubts, which is not good because we run with a small squad, but it does open the possibility up that I’ll be able to take one or two of the younger members of the squad.
“And, at this moment in time, I’m taking young Izzy Brown, who is a 16 year old.
“He’s done fantastic and has come through the youth team, quickly into the Under-21s, and has put on some really good performances recently.
“He might not be involved in the final selection but I think the experience of taking a 16-year-old down to Stamford Bridge will be good for the boy and good for the club.”
With Romelu Lukaku ineligible to face his parent club and Long a doubt, Clarke will have to look to Peter Odemwingie, Markus Rosenberg and Marc-Antoine Fortune as his striking options.
“It’s an opportunity for Peter, and an opportunity maybe for Markus Rosenberg and Marco Fortune.
“I’ve said all season I’ve got great forwards.
“All five of them have made a big contribution and I’m pleased with all of them.
“And, if Shane wasn’t to make it, no matter which one or two I pick it wouldn’t be to the detriment of the team.
“Any of those players can do a good job.”
Goran Popov will miss the trip to Stamford Bridge as he serves the final game of his three-match ban.