Albion striker Peter Odemwingie is expecting an African Cup of Nations call-up – but he today revealed the arrival of his first child could delay his departure.
The Nigeria international has delivered a blow to Baggies fans by confirming he is set to figure in the tournament in South Africa at the end of January despite missing his country’s last friendly.
But Odemwingie’s wife, Sarah, is due to give birth to a son less than a fortnight before the tournament, meaning the 31-year-old’s preparations could be affected if the baby arrives late.
“I hope it won’t affect my involvement,” said Odemwingie. “You can’t predict what will happen but I hope for a scenario where it will be easy.
"The due date is about 10 days before the African Cup of Nations. Babies can be late, or early, but in this case I pray it’s earlier so everything will go smoothly.
“The preparation period (for the tournament) is usually about 10-14 days. Sometimes the home-based players start earlier. That will be discussed soon.”
Odemwingie has settled his differences with Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi but missed a recent friendly, raising hopes among Baggies fans that he might not figure in the tournament.
But it now appears certain both Odemwingie and DR Congo midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu will miss up to a month of Albion’s season from mid-January.
“I will be playing,” said Odemwingie. “There is no problem with the coach. I couldn’t make the last game for personal reasons. I am in his plans, we have spoken well and, as far as I’m concerned, I will be called up.”
“It’s bad I will miss games for Albion because I am full of desire, we’ve had a good start and I want that to continue.
“But I’ve had to leave before when I played in France and Belgium. Steve Clarke has given me his blessing.
“When we were due to play in Miami for a midweek game and I came to the training ground he said ‘what are you doing here?’
“He likes to encourage us to play. He thinks it makes us better. I have his blessing, which is a good thing.
“I’m confident Albion have a good squad to cope with this. We have options when myself and Youssouf are gone.”