Matej Vydra today rejoined Albion’s fierce battle for attacking spots as the Baggies insisted Jonas Olsson will face Stoke on Saturday despite leaving the Sweden squad.
Vydra declared he is in “perfect shape” to return to action seven weeks after suffering a hamstring injury.
And Hawthorns officials are confident Olsson will be available for the trip to the Britannia Stadium after he withdraw from international duty for personal reasons.
Vydra, who joined Albion in the summer on a season-long loan from Italian side Udinese, limped off during the 3-0 win over Newport County in the Capital One Cup on August 27.
But, after opting out of the Czech Republic’s current international squad, the 21-year-old says he is now fully ready to return.
“The first prognosis saw me out for four weeks,” Vydra told the Czech media. “It was not good enough for me to be able to join the national side.
“Now I feel in perfect shape. The leg doesn’t hurt and I’m ready. I played 60 minutes for the reserve team against Reading and even scored, then another 45 minutes for the first team versus a youth side from Derby County (behind closed doors). Everything was fine. I have been in training with the first team for quite some while already and endured the full burden without any problems.”
However, Vydra faces a fierce battle to claim a first-team spot after seeing Victor Anichebe and Stephane Sessegnon sign and Saido Berahino emerge as a Premier League option during his lay-off.
Shane Long also remained despite a proposed switch to Hull and Nicolas Anelka is available. Vydra said: “Now we have about seven forwards and use two. I know I have to work hard to convince the manager. Nobody has a place for granted.”
Meanwhile, Olsson has withdrawn from Sweden’s ‘dead rubber’ World Cup qualifier against Germany tonight for personal reasons which both his club and country have refused to elaborate on.
But Baggies sources today insisted they expect the 30-year-old to be available against the Potters.
He was an unused substitute in Friday’s 2-1 win against Austria. Sweden are now certain to finish second Group C behind the Germans regardless of tonight’s result.