And Clarke boosted by return to training of numbers of players
STEVE Clarke is hopeful Victor Anichebe will be fit to face Arsenal on Sunday (ko 4pm) – but revealed Scott Sinclair has been ruled out until after the international break.
Anichebe battled on through the second half of Saturday’s 2-1 win at Manchester United despite picking up a groin problem just before half-time – and is expected to return to training tomorrow.
Sinclair will miss the Gunners clash after limping off in the 13th minute of the Old Trafford encounter with a hamstring injury.
But Clarke has been buoyed by the news James Morrison (tight hamstring), Shane Long, who both missed the United trip, and Stephane Sessegnon (both minor knocks) are set to return to training today.
While Chris Brunt (groin) and Nicolas Anelka (foot) were back on the practice pitch yesterday, with the added boost Matej Vydra joined them after five weeks on the sidelines due to the hamstring injury he suffered against Newport in the Capital One Cup.
“There have been a few missing this week – mainly knocks and niggles,” said the Baggies boss.
“When you carry a big squad you tend to get those.
“Victor tweaked a groin during Saturday's game.
“He tried to lay the ball off and felt a sharp pain but finished the game, which is normally a good sign. We are hopeful he'll be okay for the weekend.
“The longer week and extra day helps us. It'll help Arsenal as well after their big Champions League game, so it will help their preparation.
“Scott has a small hamstring injury and will probably be available after the international break.
“Matej joined in yesterday.
“He did some bits of work last week to re-adapt to the group but he did his first proper session with us yesterday and now it's just about a timescale for his return.
“Obviously he’s missed a lot of fitness work and match practice - but we’ll get that into him in the coming weeks.”
The visit of Arsene Wenger’s table-toppers comes too soon for Zoltan Gera and George Thorne, who have both been getting game time in Barclays Under-21 Premier League matches on their comebacks from long-term knee injuries.
“It was good for George to get 90 minutes on Monday.
“That was the plan.
“He was due to play half a game three weeks ago but he felt a tightness before it.
“He then played an hour in a game and now he has played 90.
“We will hopefully arrange another Under-21 game next week when he can get another 90.”