Jerome Thomas is ready to finally get his season underway – and launch his bid for a new Albion contract.
Thomas, in the final year of his deal, has been a by-stander to the Steve Clarke regime so far because of a knee injury.
But his recovery from surgery is now in the final stages with the wide-man back in training and looking for a return to action next week.
Thomas will return to face increased competition for places but with Clarke acknowledging that his squad are about to be put to the test as the domestic season heads for its most intense period.
But there will be no major additions to his numbers for this weekend’s visit of champions Manchester City. Midfielder and captain Chris Brunt will still be missing with hamstring trouble and full-backs Steve Reid (hamstring) and Billy Jones (knee) are unlikely to figure.
But Albion expect on-loan forward Romelu Lukaku to be available again. He pulled out of international duty with Belgium because of an ankle problem.
Clarke said today: “We’re hopeful Lukaku will be fit. He’s had a pain in his ankle for a few weeks. It’s not a big problem but it’s one we don’t want to become a big problem.”