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Steve Bruce working to protect West Brom's Daryl Dike from fatigue

Steve Bruce is trying his best not to fatigue Daryl Dike ahead of the new season - as he gets set to play his first competitive game for the Baggies since late January.

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 13: Jonny Maxted of Northampton Town saves from Daryl Dike of West Bromwich Albion at Sixfields on July 13, 2022 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 13: Jonny Maxted of Northampton Town saves from Daryl Dike of West Bromwich Albion at Sixfields on July 13, 2022 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

The US international has featured in every pre-season game so far and continues to ramp up his fitness after suffering a hamstring injury early in his Albion career that ended his season before it began.

He put in another 45-minute display in the win over Oxford United on Tuesday before being taken off at the break in what was a pre-planned swap for Matt Phillips.

Bruce explained that Albion are trying their best not to fatigue the US international – and that people need to remember he has played hardly any football since November last year.

The Baggies boss said: “It’s the six/seven months he had off.

“And don’t forget he hadn’t played until the November before that so the way I see it, it’s eight months.

“When you are 100 kilos and you are relying on pace and power, it’s about getting the balance right and making sure we don’t fatigue him.

“Being honest, it was a struggle for him the first half.

“But we are going to get that when a player is trying to find his fitness.”

On another striker, Bruce provided an update on Kenneth Zohore, who hasn’t featured in Albion’s last three pre-season squads.

Last month, Bruce praised the former Cardiff City front man for working tirelessly during pre-season to salvage his Albion career – after a nightmare three years that has seen him scored just five times in 23 outings.

He turned out for the under-23s in their clash with Macclesfield earlier in July – and was due to play for an Albion side at Nuneaton on Tuesday evening, a game which was then switched to Wednesday due to the high temperatures.

And on waiting for possible Premier League loans to materialise, Bruce added: “Of course, I have to say the phone hasn’t stopped.”

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