Albion have put the block on a loan move for George Thorne despite boss Steve Clarke insisting the young midfielder is recovering well from a serious knee injury.
Both Watford and Derby have expressed an interest in the 20-year-old.
But Clarke played down Thorne’s early exit from Sunday’s Under-21s victory over Liverpool and insisted both he and veteran Zoltan Gera – who was also taken off – are making good progress as they return from cruciate knee ligament problems.
“At the moment the important thing for George is to concentrate on his fitness,” said Clarke.
“He’s had a couple of Under-21s games that he hasn’t been able to finish so he’s still looking for a little bit of fitness to take forward for the rest of the season.
“If George gets to a stage of his fitness where he’s able to handle a loan move, then it’s something we’d consider. But for now it’s better he stays here and works with the medical people, who know how he’s recovering.
“We’re in a position with ‘Zolly’ where we don’t take any risks.
“He felt something in the game. His hamstring tightened a little bit so the no-risk policy means we took him off.
“He doesn’t seem too bad, which is good – and George is similar.”Subscribe to our Newsletter