VICTOR Anichebe will have a huge part to play for Albion this season - but will not be rushed back too soon.
That's according to head coach Alan Irvine, who is looking forward to working with a player he knows well from his time at Everton.
Anichebe impressed during pre-season, only to suffer a hernia problem following the start of the campaign.
The player is earmarked to return to full training next week, but Irvine will not take any chances if the 26-year-old isn't quite right.
Irvine believes the striker has a lot to offer.
“Victor is frustrated, and he’s particularly frustrated because he’d got a good pre-season under his belt," said Irvine.
“He had started the season looking as if he was going to play a really big part.
“He and I have a relationship that goes back a number of years and we were really looking forward to working together again and unfortunately this has set him back again.
“I think he will come back from this. It’s not a career-threatening injury.
“We’ve just got to make sure when he comes back he’s back.
“We tried to bring him back last week and it’s set him back again, so we have to make sure next time he’s back he’d OK."
Irvine explained the reasons for Anichebe's extended lay-off with the hernia injury.
“It used to be that they had mesh put in," he added.
“He had the operation to take the mesh out and that was prior to him coming back and it’s just not quite right.
“He’s maybe rushed it a little bit but we’re hoping he’ll be OK next week, hopefully at the start of it if we want him back for Monday, but we’ll see."
The process of recovery varies with player to player.
Irvine concedes that one problem can often lead to another.
He added: "Unfortunately when you have had one injury that keeps you out for a while, there is a fair chance you might pick up another one, either related or totally unrelated.
"You are coming back trying to train at the level everyone else is training at and of course you can do all your work with the physios.
"I know from my own experience - I remember having a hamstring injury and did everything you are supposed to do and came back from it and two minutes into the first game back it went again.
"You go from a controlled environment, which is the physics world, to an uncontrolled environment they can't reproduce.
"There are players who unfortunately get one injury and it becomes another injury which becomes another injury and before you know it you are in a vicious circle."