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Gareth Barry puts in the yards for West Brom return

By Joseph Masi | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

Gareth Barry is still working on his fitness so that he can rejoin Albion, head coach Slaven Bilic has confirmed.

Gareth Barry (AMA)

The former England midfielder, who had an operation on his knee towards the end of last season, saw his contract at The Hawthorns expire at the end of June.

But he has remained at the club throughout pre-season in order to complete his rehabilitation.

Bilic has previously said he is keen to add Barry to his ranks, with the boss believing his experience will be important as Albion bid to win promotion from the Championship.

But while Bilic was keen to stress there has been no setback, he said Barry isn’t yet ready to sign a new deal.

“He is still a little bit behind,” the Croatian said.

“I spoke to him on Thursday and he is getting there.

“He hasn’t had a setback. No. But he thought he was going to be a bit quicker.

“There is no pain, no problems. Like I say, no set-backs.

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“He just has to build and get a bit stronger.”

On deadline day, Bilic bolstered his ranks by signing Charlie Austin, Grady Diangana, Matheus Pereira and Chris Willock.

Austin, Diangana and Pereira all made their debuts against Millwall on Tuesday.

And Bilic doesn’t think it will be long until fans see Willock, who came through the youth ranks at Arsenal, in action.

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“Chris came on the last day and is a very talented player,” the head coach continued.

“We know his history. He is young.

“But he came through at Arsenal and you don’t spend your time there if you don’t have the talent.

“But as I said at the beginning it’s all about the squad.

“And at the moment we do not have injuries or suspensions and I’d like that to continue.

“At the moment we have a big squad. We don’t have a place for everybody to even be on the bench.

“But that is good, that is a common situation in football.

“And things can change very quickly, in a couple of weeks time or in one game time. That is why you have to be ready.”

Joseph Masi

By Joseph Masi
Football MMPJ - @josephmasi_star

Football journalist for the Express & Star covering Walsall FC.

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