Albion boss hoping to avoid international injuries
ALAN Irvine is hoping for an empty treatment room as Albion's absentees begin to file back from international duty during the coming days.
The Baggies have 13 first-team players away with their respective countries.
Youssouf Mulumbu suffered a hamstring injury during last month's international break and, since recovering, the DR Congo midfielder has had to make do with a place on the bench.
Irvine said: "I will keep my fingers crossed because there is a group of players we are hoping will all come back OK.
"It can be really costly for the players as well. The last international break has cost Youssouf his current place in the team because he gets the injury, somebody else steps into the team, they do well and before you know it that player who was injured can't get back in.
"He was playing really well for us before he went on international duty.
"That's one of the risks of being away when they could get into their training here.
"It's more galling when they get injured not training or playing for you."
Irvine has been satisfied with Mulumbu's reaction to finding himself out of the starting XI.
"We haven't even had a conversation about it, he knows what happened, he knows he went out of the team because of injury and knows that James Morrison has stepped in the team and played really well," continued Irvine.
"And so he has now got to wait for his chance to come along. That's just part of being a player. There is a squad to cover for injuries and you daren't get injured.
"Youssouf is a great lad and absolutely no problem where that's concerned.
"I think he was probably a bit disappointed with how he played when he came on last weekend (at Liverpool), but he is absolutely no problem.
"He has not changed in any way, he's a lovely lad around the place, he has got an infectious personality and is good on the training ground."