Zoltan Gera today announced plans to make his Albion comeback in less than two weeks – as he declared the competition is as tough as it’s ever been in his time.
The 34-year-old Hungarian has pencilled in the Capital One Cup third-round tie at home to Arsenal on September 23 to return to competitive action after being out since January with a repeat of his cruciate knee ligament injury.
But he has made a full recovery and has been in training for two weeks.
“If everything is going right then maybe I can play in the League Cup game,” said Gera.
“Hopefully before that, I’ll be able to play in the under-21s. I’ve been busy in training, I haven’t felt any problems and I’m getting closer. It’s a great feeling.”
The attacking midfielder has been reduced to just 19 League appearances since arriving for his second spell at The Hawthorns in 2011.
And after the signings of attacking players Nicolas Anelka, Scott Sinclair, Matej Vydra, Morgan Amalfitano, Victor Anichebe and Stephane Sessegnon this summer, Gera believes the competition is as fierce as it has ever been since first signing for the Baggies in 2004.
“While I’ve been injured, the club has signed some very good attacking players,” he said.
“It’s the most competitive it’s been for an attacking spot in my whole time at the club. It’s great for the team to have more competition for places.
“We have so many good strikers, wingers and midfielders, so there’s big competition for places.
“I’m sure it’s the strongest we’ve been in those positions in my time at Albion.
“I have to be patient and make sure I make my comeback when I’m fully fit and ready for games.”
“I’m not too frustrated and I’m just happy to be training again.
“I’m excited but it’s important I don’t play before I’m ready.
“Thanks to the doctors, physios, fitness guys and coaches, I’m almost there.”
Gera added: “I’m hungry to play. I’m in my second week of full training and I feel great.
“I’m enjoying the training sessions and I just want the time to go by quickly so I can get back playing.
“I’ve been working hard on my fitness for around seven or eight weeks.”
Albion’s Under-21s lost 5-1 at Stoke yesterday. Mani O’Sullivan reduced the scoreline to 2-1 for the Baggies but the Potters romped home through four-goal George Waring.