West Brom handed double fitness boost

Billy Jones and Jerome Thomas today handed Albion a double fitness boost by taking part in an open training session for fans at The Hawthorns.

The pair were among the players put through their paces by boss Steve Clarke on the Hawthorns pitch as hundreds of fans turned up in damp conditions to catch a glimpse of their Premier League heroes.

Thomas has not figured under new head coach Steve Clarke because of a serious of pre-season injuries and a recent operation to cure a knee problem.

And Jones has been sidelined since picking up a knee problem in the draw at Villa on September 30.

But both men trained today with Jones potentially in line to step in at right-back for Sunday’s trip to Newcastle after centre-back Gabriel Tamas filled in against QPR and Manchester City.

Regular right-back Steven Reid and captain Chris Brunt, who are both struggling with hamstring injuries, were missing from training today as fans poured into the East Stand after being invited to watch the session for free.

Children were entertained before the session by freestyle footballers while one fan won the vest worn by goalscorer Shane Long in Saturday’s Premier League clash with Manchester City.

The session was the latest phase of Albion’s preparations for Sunday’s visit to St James’ Park, when they will look to bounce back from the 2-1 defeat to City. And on-loan star Romelu Lukaku today claimed Albion have the firepower to frighten any team in the Premier League.

The Chelsea teenager is one of a host of forwards vying for places in Clarke’s line-up and he reckons the Baggies are spoiled for choice in attack.

Ireland hitman Long is in red hot form with Peter Odemwingie also performing well while Belgium international Lukaku and Sweden’s Markus Rosenberg are in the mix along with Marc-Antoine Fortune.

And Lukaku said: “The manager told us at the beginning of the season that we have top strikers.

“Any striker who plays in our team could play in a top team in the Premier League so we could be a big threat for the rest of the league.

“With the striking options we have everybody has the quality to score goals so we have to continue to work hard and raise the competition between ourselves so we can all do well for the team.”

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