Carlos Corberán has revealed it’s his plan to start striker Daryl Dike against Aldershot Town in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup on Sunday.
The USA international hasn’t featured for Albion since suffering an Achilles injury in a clash with Stoke City back in April 2023.
The 23-year-old has been working tirelessly to return to full fitness, participating in both individual training sessions and ones with the whole senior squad.
Corberán hopes to be able to give Dike 45 minutes at The Hawthorns and insists it’s an exciting moment after a challenging eight months.
Carlos said: “We have all been looking forward to this moment, but Daryl is especially looking to it.
“He has been managing his injury for a long time and now appears to be the moment where he is ready to return to the competition.
“He has been training with the group when it has been possible to train with the group. Unfortunately, it has been a very demanding period where we’ve had lots of games and not very many team training sessions.
“However, there have been enough to be able to use him now this weekend. The plan is to give him the 45 minutes which he needs.
“The challenge for him before was to arrive to this moment where he is able to play. Now, it’s a different challenge.
“The previous challenge was to make himself ready. Now the challenge from the start of the next game, is to compete in the best way that he can to help the team achieve a positive result.”
The Baggies are set to be without a number of regular first-team players for the visit of the Vanarama National League outfit.
Grady Diangana and Semi Ajayi have joined up with DR Congo and Nigeria respectively ahead of the start of the Africa Cup of Nations next weekend, while trio Jed Wallace, John Swift and Jayson Molumby are all unavailable owing to injury.
“We know that we have lost some of the players in different ways,” said the boss.
“Some have been lost because of injuries. We already know about Matty Phillips and Josh Maja, but the injury of Jed Wallace and John Swift meant they couldn’t compete in the previous game.
“They are not going to be ready to compete in the cup game.
“Jeremy Sarmiento has now left and we also have Grady Diangana and Semi Ajayi away at the Africa Cup of Nations. Of course, we are losing players who could’ve played.
“Jayson Molumby is another player who was playing in the previous game with an injury. An injection was the only way to use him in the previous game and unfortunately, he hasn't recovered in time to play on Sunday against Aldershot.”
The Shots, who are chasing a play-off spot in the National League this term, have already defeated two teams from a higher division in this season’s FA Cup.
Tommy Widdrington’s men secured a thrilling 7-4 victory at Swindon Town in round one before going on to beat fellow Sky Bet League Two outfit Stockport County 1-0 in a second-round replay after the initial tie ended 2-2 at Aldershot’s EBB Stadium.
Corberán says he and his coaching staff are aware of threats the fifth-tier side will pose.
“We have analysed Aldershot and we have had the same report on them as we do for Championship teams because we have to respect every single opponent.
“We know the level of competition because we played Chesterfield of the same division last season at this stage. We also know their record of goals in the FA Cup and that they are a very attacking team.
“They are one team who have beaten teams in a higher division to them and they deserve respect. It will be a competitive game.
“It’s impossible for me to underestimate any opponent in any competition. We have to make sure we analyse what their strengths and what their weaknesses are.”