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Valerien Ismael says competition for places will drive West Brom on

Boss Valerien Ismael says increased competition for places will drive Albion forward as they prepare to play three games inside a week.

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 25: .Alex Mowatt of West Bromwich Albion fist-pumps the West Bromwich Albion Fans at the end of the match as he celebrates the 2-1 win in the Sky Bet Championship match between West Bromwich Albion and Queens Park Rangers at The Hawthorns on September 25, 2021 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).
WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 25: .Alex Mowatt of West Bromwich Albion fist-pumps the West Bromwich Albion Fans at the end of the match as he celebrates the 2-1 win in the Sky Bet Championship match between West Bromwich Albion and Queens Park Rangers at The Hawthorns on September 25, 2021 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

The Baggies face Huddersfield tomorrow, Blackpool on Tuesday and Nottingham Forest on Friday as they return to Championship action following the international break.

Albion currently have two long-term injuries with defenders Dara O'Shea and Kean Bryan sidelined.

Ismael revealed out-of-favour striker Kenneth Zohore has also been ruled out for the next six to eight weeks with a muscle injury.

But those players aside, the head coach has a healthy-looking squad as things stand – with Alex Mowatt, Jake Livermore, Matt Clarke and Jayson Molumby all back in contention having been sidelined at some point over the last few months.

And Ismael says having those players fit and training over during the international break has been hugely beneficial for his side.

"We have got two long-term injuries (O'Shea and Bryan) and one half-term injury (Zohore)," the boss said.

"But other than that all the other players are back in training.

"The break came at a very good time for us. The good thing is that all the players are back.

"Jake Livermore is back. Alex Mowatt is back. Clarkey is back. Jayson Molumby is back so we’ve had a good week of work with all the players.

"I have to say that is a great feeling. It makes such a big difference when every day you are working with the squad together. It helps us massively to create an environment of work, to create challenging situations for positions for the players.

"They understand now that nobody is safe. And if somebody comes back they need to fight to take the position in the starting XI.

"Everybody is focused and motivated and ready for the games."

Molumby withdraw from the Republic of Ireland squad during the international break with muscle strain.

But Ismael confirmed the injury was only minor.

The same can't be said for Zohore, though, who also picked up a muscle strain in training this week.

On Molumby, the boss said: "It was a muscle issue. But the good thing was that it was the international break.

"It was an eight to 10 day issue but he has come back quickly. He has trained with the squad fully – 100 per cent."

On Zohore, the boss added: "Kenneth Zohore is injured – he got injured on Monday or Tuesday. It's a muscle injury so he will be out for six to eight weeks."

Ismael also confirmed Bryan has now undergone surgery after suffering an ACL injury which will rule him out for the rest of the season.

The former Sheffield United man suffered damage to the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during the game against Hull on November 3.

"Kean Bryan had an operation on Wednesday – the good news is that operation went well," the boss added.

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