Varela set for friendly role
SILVESTRE Varela has been urged to grasp the chance to prove his fitness when Albion take on Leicester in a behind-closed-doors friendly later today.
The winger, on loan from Porto, has barely featured for Albion since his summer arrival.
He had to initially catch-up with his fitness, before then suffering a hernia problem which necessitated minor surgery.
But he returns to action in this afternoon's game in the East Midlands, with Alan Irvine hoping it will be the latest step in his recovery to match fitness.
“It’s another step in his recovery," said Irvine.
"When I get the numbers in each day it’s clear what each training session is taking out of him.
“We have physical data on each training session and his numbers are still extremely high in comparison to other lads who are doing the same session, so that tells you it’s costing him a lot just to keep up to the tempo of the sessions.
“And that’s understandable because you’re comparing lads who have reached their proper levels with somebody who is trying to get there.
“If you are I went out and we put the GPS on us, our red zone minutes would be higher than everybody else’s.
“All it shows you is how much each session is taking out of him and what some lads might find a fairly moderate session he might find quite a high level."
Albion fans are inevitably keen to see the Portugal international in action given his pedigree and his brief outing against Hull.
Irvine admitted it was frustrating for all concerned.
“He was signed to be a creator of chances," continued Irvine.
"We have seen one little glimpse in the Hull game with a pass for Saido’s goal but other than that, sadly we have not had a chance to see him.
“Catching up is really difficult because we have to train for the group.
“Sometimes the group have to have a low-level session and sometimes it is a little bit higher and at no time now are the group getting smashed.
“He probably needs what the group got when they were getting smashed in pre-season so we’re having to find other ways of getting him to that level.
“It is difficult. It’s the worst thing ever to miss pre-season and when you miss pre-season you try to get fit in the other sessions, you pick up an injury, it sets you back again and you’ve got to try to climb all the way back up again. It’s really hard."