Branislav Ivanovic in West Brom frame for clash with old club Chelsea

Albion’s Branislav Ivanovic is in contention to play against former club Chelsea when the two teams meet on Saturday, head coach Slaven Bilic has confirmed.

Branislav Ivanovic of West Bromwich Albion (AMA)
Branislav Ivanovic of West Bromwich Albion (AMA)

A Stamford Bridge legend, Ivanovic won three Premier League titles, three FA Cups and the Champions League during a nine-year stint in the capital.

After two successful seasons with Zenit St Petersburg, the Serbian joined Albion last week on a free transfer. He then made his Baggies debut in the League Cup against Brentford on Tuesday.

Albion have struggled defensively since their promotion to the Premier League, particularly when dealing with set-pieces.

And while the clash against Brentford was Ivanovic’s first match since July, the centre-back impressed for an hour before being substituted.

“It was always the plan for him (Ivanovic) to play 45 minutes minimum against Brentford – maybe 60,” Bilic said. “He felt good so it was 60 and he is now in my mind for Chelsea – we are going to see. The Brentford game was the best possible training for him. He came out of it clean, no issues. He brings us quality, he brings us composure, he brings us experience and he brings us leadership on the pitch. We will see. We have a long time to prepare him and the squad for the Chelsea game. Why not?”

Conor Gallagher also made his Albion debut against Brentford but can’t feature against parent club Chelsea under the terms of his loan.

Meanwhile Slaven Bilic has been fined £8,000 after admitting a charge of improper conduct for remonstrating with referee Mike Dean at half-time of the Baggies' 5-2 defeat to Everton on Saturday.

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