Club News

Ridgewell in fitness race for Toon trip

Clarke explains why left-back missed derby draw

STEVE Clarke has revealed Liam Ridgewell has an ‘outside chance’ of being fit for Saturday’s trip to Newcastle (ko 5.30pm) – but is refusing to rush him back if he is not ready.

The Baggies left-back lost his ever-present record this season as he was forced to sit out tonight’s 2-2 draw with his former club Villa due to a calf strain - handing Goran Popov his first league start of the campaign.

The 29-year-old defender suffered the injury during the first week of the international break.

He was back out jogging yesterday but Clarke is likely to err on the side of caution to avoid him breaking down again, with the hectic Christmas schedule on the horizon.

“Liam injured his calf in training the week before,” said the Albion chief.

“It’s a calf strain and I’m not sure how long he’ll be out for.

“He’s started jogging again so he’s got an outside chance of being ready for the weekend.

“But we’ve got plenty of games coming up as well so we have to be careful it doesn’t become a long-term injury.”