Club News

Clarke delighted with squad boost

And Gera set to begin rehab after successful knee op

STEVE Clarke is delighted he will have a full squad to select from for tomorrow’s trip to Everton (ko 7.45pm).

The only player not at the Baggies boss’ disposal ahead of the Goodison Park encounter is long-term absentee Zoltan Gera, who yesterday underwent a successful knee operation in Belgium.

Claudio Yacob (shoulder), Shane Long (severe dead leg), Marc-Antoine Fortune (hamstring) and Steven Reid (leg) are all back in full-time training.

“The injury situation is much better," said Clarke.

“I’ve just remarked to both my coaches, Keith and Kevin, that the squad looks much healthier.

“We don’t have any injuries apart from Zoltan Gera.

“Zoltan had his operation yesterday, the surgeon was really pleased with the procedure, it went very well and his rehabilitation starts tomorrow.

“We would expect him to be up and running by the start of pre-season, which is good news for everybody.

“Shane’s been training over the last few days and looks good - and the others have been training.

“We’ve had a number of injuries to key players at different times.

“It has upset the rhythm and momentum of the team so getting them out of the treatment room onto the training pitch was the first step.

“Now we have a good run of games where he can hopefully filter them back in and in a few weeks time we should be back up to speed and hopefully flying like we were earlier in the season.

“The 11-day break between games has helped to empty the treatment room and get some freshness into the players’ legs.

“It’s disappointing to go out of the FA Cup as it is a competition we wanted to do well in, and I would rather have had the game at the weekend, had one or two problems around the squad and still been in the FA Cup.

“But we’ve cleared up the treatment room and the squad is looking a little bit healthier.”

Youssouf Mulumbu is set to return from African Cup of Nations duty at the end of the week and Steve Clarke expects the midfielder to be available for selection against Tottenham on Sunday (ko 1.30pm).