West Brom await news of defender Conor Townsend’s knee injury

Albion are waiting to hear the extent of the knee injury suffered by Conor Townsend at the weekend.

Conor Townsend of West Bromwich Albion is forced off injured. (AMA)
Conor Townsend of West Bromwich Albion is forced off injured. (AMA)

The defender, who has been in superb form for the Baggies of late, was withdrawn after 75 minutes against Sheffield United when he took a knock to his knee.

It is currently too early for the club to assess the extent of the injury but manager Slaven Bilic has confirmed it was not a twist but instead an impact injury – offering hope that the 27-year-old may recover in time for Sunday’s clash with Crystal Palace.

“It was his knee, it was a tackle it wasn’t a twist,” Bilic said.

“But knowing Conor, his character and his bravery, he is not one with 15 minutes to go, or 20 minutes to go, to walk away if it isn’t major.

“It’s nothing major, major. But knowing him, he would play with a half leg.

“So lets hope and pray it’s nothing serious.”

Bilic is expected to give a further update on Townsend’s condition later this week.

Meanwhile, Kieran Gibbs and Jake Livermore are nearing a return to action after testing positive for coronavirus.

The pair, who were part of a group of 15 players and staff that contracted the virus recently, both missed the unfortunate 1-0 loss to Manchester United on November 21.

The experienced duo were expected to return for the clash with Sheffield United on Saturday, but again missed out as their team earned their first Premier League win of the season.

Now, Gibbs and Livermore are set to return to training this week after returning negative coronavirus tests, although Bilic warns they will be re-introduced slowly.

“They are both negative, hopefully they are going to join in training this week,” Bilic added.

“Jake still feels a bit rough but the most important thing is that they are negative.

“Now they should be slowly included in training.”

Gibbs has played the majority of this season as back-up to Townsend, who has impressed for Albion.

The 31-year-old has only made two appearances and was sent off against Everton in his last game. However, with Townsend’s availability for the weekend uncertain, the Baggies may rely on Gibbs getting back up to speed quickly this week to take up a starting berth against palace.

Livermore has been more of a key figure in the side this year, making eight appearances before contracting the virus.

In his absence, loanee Conor Gallagher and Romaine Sawyers have stepped up in midfield, proving effective as a pairing.

In attack, Matheus Pereira shone against Sheffield United and created nine chances – more than any other player has managed in a Premier League game this season.

“I don’t need the stats to know against Sheffield United he was amazing,” Bilic added.

“He is always skillful. But he was doing that against Sheffield United at top pace.

“He was dribbling the ball and it was hurting the opposition. He was doing it not in a statistic way but in a progressive way.

“That is why he was getting into positions to play key balls and that is the reason why he was the Matheus I want to be and that I know he can be in every game.

“His performance was a big boost for us.”

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