Gera set for return to full training

And boss explains why he sent Thorne on loan to Watford

ZOLTAN Gera could return to full training next week to bolster Steve Clarke’s attacking options ahead of the busy Christmas schedule.

The Hungary international has been sidelined since suffering a serious knee injury in the 1-1 FA Cup draw at QPR ten months ago.

He came off after 30 minutes of the Under-21s' 4-2 win over Liverpool almost three weeks ago, as a precaution over a minor hamstring strain, to slightly delay his first-team comeback.

But he is now back on track for a potential return to Barclays Premier League action before the New Year.

“The last time I spoke to the Director of Performance he said he should join the group next week,” said Clarke.

“So hopefully on Tuesday and Wednesday he’ll come back to the main group and from there it’s a matter of getting a number of training sessions under his belt, and then hopefully he’s back with us.”

The Baggies boss has also explained his thinking in letting George Thorne join Watford on loan until January 2, with the right to recall the midfielder after 28 days.

“It’s good for George, good for us, and hopefully it will be good for Watford as well,” he added.

“He needs competitive football after playing a couple of Under-21s games.

“But, at the moment, I’m not in a position to give him time on the pitch, so the solution is that he goes to Watford.

“George is happy with the situation and so am I, so it’s good for everyone.”