And Mel reveals injury headache over defender
PEPE Mel could hand new loan signing Thievy Bifouma his first start against Chelsea tomorrow (ko 8pm) after seeing him set a new Barclays Premier League record on Saturday.
The Baggies striker scored the fastest debut goal by notching just 36 seconds after coming on as a half-time substitute against Crystal Palace.
His goal beat the previous best set by Kepa Blanco for West Ham against Liverpool in January 2007 by 29 seconds.
The first nine of the top ten fastest goals by debutants in the Barclays Premier League are by substitutes (N.B. in the table with the times below, the timing of goals before 2003 have been rounded up to the nearest 30 seconds).
The fastest by a debutant starter was Samir Nasri’s goal for Arsenal v Albion at the start of the 2008/09 season after 3min 41sec.
Aside from his decision on whether to elevate Thievy to the starting XI, Mel is also sweating on the fitness of Billy Jones (knee).
“It is possible Billy Jones won’t be able to play, and if so it will be Reid," said the Baggies boss.
“Billy has a problem in his knee.
“Thievy is a young player who is hungry to be a big player in the Premier League.
“The last match was good for him and it’s possible he will be in the line-up.”
Jonas Olsson (hamstring), Nicolas Anelka (knee) and Stephane Sessegnon (groin) remain sidelined.
Top ten fastest Barclays Premier League debut goals:
Tore Andre Flo
Roque Santa Cruz
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