And Clarke provides update on Gera and Thorne after U21 exits
STEVE Clarke has revealed Scott Sinclair has an outside chance of being available to face Liverpool on Saturday (ko 3pm).
And the Baggies boss has also provided a fitness update on Zoltan Gera and George Thorne after both came off before half-time of Sunday’s Under-21s 4-2 win over Liverpool at The Hawthorns.
Sinclair has been sidelined for almost four weeks due to the hamstring injury he suffered early on in the 2-1 win at Manchester United.
“Scott is working his way back from a hamstring injury,” said Clarke.
“He’s got an outside chance of being involved at the weekend.
“Any player when they’re injured is frustrated.
“Scott had a season last season when he didn’t play a lot.
“He was just starting to get his teeth into this season when he picked up this injury.
“It was quite a substantial injury and it’s coming up to four weeks now, which is normal when the time-frame for a hamstring injury is four to eight weeks.
“He’s a little bit frustrated, but I spoke to him this morning and he’s still smiling, so he’s not too depressed.”
The Albion chief explained Gera and Thorne both came off against the Reds on Sunday as a precaution, with both players currently being governed by a ‘no-risk policy’.
“We’re in a position with Zolly where we don’t take any risks,” Clarke added.
“He felt something in the game; his hamstring tightened a little bit so the no-risk policy means we took him off.
“He doesn’t seem too bad, which is good – and George is similar.
“Both players are coming back from long-term injuries and on the way back they’ll pick up little niggles along the way.
“And we’re working on a no-risk policy because we have a big squad and we don’t have to push the players to be back.
“So we take the cautious approach – and both are okay.
“It’s not great and obviously we’d have liked them to play a little bit longer.
“The plan was for Zolly to play an hour and George 75 minutes.
“But it’s not as bad as it looks; the fact they’ve come off injured.
“It’s more down to our policy than any serious set-backs.”
Any loan moves for Thorne have also been put on hold while he continues to build his fitness.
“At the moment the thing for George is to concentrate on his fitness first and foremost,” said Clarke.
“He’s had a couple of Under-21s games where he hasn’t been able finish.
“He’s still looking for a little bit of fitness to take forward for the rest of the season.
“If George gets to a stage of his fitness where he’s able to handle a loan move then it’s something we’d consider.
“But I would have to say now it’s better he stays here and works with the medical people, who know how he’s recovering.”
Ben Foster remains on track in his 12-week recovery from the stress fracture he suffered in his right foot at Everton on August 24.