West Brom are busy preparing for their meeting with Queens Park Rangers at The Hawthorns this coming Friday.
Albion’s squad, under the watchful eye of Valerien Ismael and his team of staff, are hard at work and are being put through their paces as they look to get back to winning ways after a series of infuriating draws.
QPR represent another challenge; they’ve started this season brightly and dumped Everton out of the EFL Cup on Tuesday night, so they’ll be no pushovers. In Charlie Austin, Stefan Johansen and Chris Willock, there are a few familiar faces within their ranks, too.
Albion will of course be without long-term injury absentee Dara O’Shea, who has had surgery and has begun his rehabilitation after suffering that ankle injury while away with the Republic of Ireland in the last international break, but elsewhere they’re looking rather healthy.
Here’s what we spotted in training…
Clarke’s fitness boost
We’ve known that Matt Clarke is ahead of schedule and on his way back to full fitness after suffering that hamstring injury in the win at Blackburn last month, and it was anticipated that that he’d maybe be available after the October international break.
Yet Clarke is already joining in full training with the remainder of the Albion squad. In the photos shared by the club, he is taking part in a training drill opposite teammate Darnell Furlong.
Kean Bryan got 45 minutes under his belt in the club’s under 23s last week as they lost to Aston Villa.
Brought in to help cope with the loss of O’Shea, he’s watched his new club draw their last three matches since his arrival. With Ismael wanting a left-footed player to bring balance to his back-line, Conor Townsend has been crow-barred into the back three on a short-term basis, but Bryan – now very much a part of the squad as he builds up his fitness levels – is in contention to make his debut this Friday.
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Ismael made it very clear when he arrived that he wanted to ensure the academy players at the club had a clear pathway to the first-team provided they were good enough and applied themselves appropriately.
A matter of months into his tenure, and a host of those players are now fixtures in first-team training and in the first-team squad on a weekly basis.
Caleb Taylor, Taylor Gardner-Hickman and Ethan Ingram are among those who are regulars.