And Irvine predicts big season for Berahino
ALAN Irvine has confirmed club-record signing Brown Ideye is in his thoughts for Saturday’s game with Sunderland – and admits his fitness levels have impressed him.
The Baggies boss has also predicted a big season for fellow striker Saido Berahino, who has caught his eye during pre-season.
Brown only arrived at The Hawthorns on Friday after a long wait for a visa but got an hour under his belt, and scored twice, in a behind-closed-doors Under-21s friendly with Nottingham Forest on Tuesday.
“Brown’s in our thoughts for the weekend, without any question,” said Irvine.
“He’s been here less than week so it will be a big ask if we do decide to put him in.
“But I’ve been really pleased with the level of his fitness.
“Because he hasn’t had a full pre-season he isn’t where I’d expect him to get to.
“But he has certainly come in in good condition and has looked after himself.
“I’m sure the fans will look forward to seeing him and it’s important we pick the right moments to put him in and look after him in these first few weeks.
“There is a danger of asking him to do too much too soon and then risking him getting injured.
“In terms of match fitness he’s not where we’d like him to be.
“He’s looking fitter by the day.
“He’s a good athlete anyway.
“He’s not somebody I think who has great difficulties getting fit.
“He’s just not had that much time.
“So I’ve been pleased with what I’ve seen considering how late Brown came in.”
Berahino finished his first Barclays Premier League campaign as the Baggies’ nine-goal top scorer.
And Irvine is confident the England Under-21 international will kick-on again this term.
First of all he really is a talent," added Irvine.
"He has a lot of ability and potential. He's been really good in pre-season.
"He's worked hard in every session, he's been available, been flexible, willing to play in different positions.
"I think he's got a big season ahead of him.”