And boss hopes Samaras and Morrison get international game time
ALAN Irvine has revealed Joleon Lescott is heading stateside in a bid to get fit for a return to action after the international break.
The Baggies summer signing returned from a calf problem against Nottingham Forest towards the end of pre-season, only to pick up a knee injury in the City Ground encounter that has kept him sidelined ever since.
The former Everton and Manchester City centre-half is now linking up with fitness experts in the USA who he and Irvine have worked with in the past.
“Joleon is actually going to go to the States and do a fitness routine over there with people I know and who I’ve worked with before at Everton," said the Albion boss.
“This is just a pre-season programme for him with people who have also worked with him before.
“There’s no concern, there was just a feeling that it might be the best approach for him at this moment.
“The plan is that he will come back from that absolutely ready to go and we can have him for the following week ready to train with the lads."
Irvine is also hoping recent signing Georgios Samaras (Greece) and James Morrison (Scotland), who made his comeback from a summer knee operation in midweek, can get valuable minutes on the pitch in European Championship qualifiers against Romania and Germany respectively on Sunday.
“I’m desperately hoping that the lads who go away on international duty come back in good condition and I’m hoping players like James Morrison and Georgios Samaras, who need football, get that in international games," added Irvine.
“If they don’t play I’ll be bitterly disappointed because we could have done with them here, but they have been called up and they are players who want to play for their national teams - and I respect that."