West Brom suffer major injury setback with Brandon Thomas-Asante and Grady Diangana among those out for Hull
Albion have been dealt an untimely fitness setback with injuries to key players ahead of tomorrow's trip to Hull.
The Baggies will be without striker Brandon Thomas-Asante and winger Grady Diangana for the clash at the KCOM Stadium and beyond in the latter's case.
Also joining the pair on the sidelines are Karlan Grant (quad) and Jake Livermore (illness).
Corberan confirmed that under-21 duo Jovan Malcolm, who featured and scored in the FA Cup under Corberan this season, and Rico Richards will make up the squad at Hull.
Tricky attacker Richards, who typically operates centrally, is another product of the club's academy. The 19-year-old has been with Albion since aged seven and his only senior action was from the bench late on in the 6-0 EFL Cup defeat by Arsenal.
The updates come as a major blow for head coach Carlos Corberan as he looks to build on a morale-boosting victory over Middlesbrough last time out as the Championship enters its business end with Albion in the play-off hunt.
Top scorer Thomas-Asante strained his hamstring in training on Monday – with Corberan hinting a change of boots from metal to plastic studs – could have played a part in the blow.
Diangana has been a regular feature on the left flank, albeit having shared a position with loanee Marc Albrighton in recent weeks, but faces the possibilities of a lengthy lay-off after an injury picked up late in the first half against Boro.
The winger was kicked in the foot and has damaged his ligaments. It is yet to be decided if he will undergo surgery, which would end his season prematurely.
After revealing his group had suffered 'a bad week in terms of injuries', Corberan said: "Grant was feeling pain in the quadriceps from Luton away and after we stopped him he was feeling better and with the group.
"But he came back and had pain with a different part of the muscle when he was doing the finishing. He couldn't manage it well.
"He was feeling pain and the scan showed us the injury and he will be out for the next four to six weeks.
"Asante felt something in the hamstring in training, it's a strain and he will not be involved, we don't know how it will progress. We need to see how it progresses to see if an injury of days or of one or two weeks.
"Diangana received a kick in the game, he didn't fracture any part of the foot, but in the ligaments in front it was damaged. We need to see the specialist to see if he needs surgery.
"Depending on surgery is the recovery time – surgery is four to five months, no surgery reduces the time, we don't know.
"Tom Rogic is progressing well, the first injury is with the hamstring and takes five days.
"After he starts to feel something in the tendon in his back, one thing he's had before in his career.
"He has been working with physical staff, from Saturday he will come back to train with the group to see if he can be involved in the next one. It is unbelievable."
Corberan said of the youthful additions to his squad: "Tomorrow, I am going to involve Rico and Jovan in the squad, they are two players who I have watched and they have adapted, and I am seeing a good level of progress. The positions they cover for me are the positions we need.
"It doesn't mean other players couldn't. I am watching a player like Ethan Ingram, he is working very well as a right back, Reece Hall as a right-back, Jamie (Andrews) was playing in the middle with us in the cup and was playing very well, but after when you are selecting, it depends on the needs of the team. "
The head coach added that defender Erik Pieters is OK to feature at 16th-placed Hull tomorrow night after a knock to the knee against Boro.
But four new setbacks takes Albion's senior unavailability list to 10 players, including Martin Kelly, who joined Wigan on loan but saw his season over with an ACL setback.
Currently absent through injury or illness are Kyle Bartley, Tom Rogic, Matty Phillips, Kean Bryan, Alex Palmer, Kelly, Livermore, Diangana, Grant and Thomas-Asante.
Corberan, though, is ready to face the major injury blow head on.
The Spaniard was more motivated and bullish than ever despite severe inability hampering his troops.
Head coach Corberan insists it is the biggest challenge of the big squad he inherited, from which he has been forced to leave players like Taylor Gardner-Hickman, Livermore and Rogic out of in recent weeks and months.
Indeed Corberan said the situation 'excites' him and should do his squad and increase the motivation and commitment to their challenge of pushing for the top six.
He added, passionately: "Sometimes there can be these periods, when you have a squad with many players you can arrive at games making complicated decisions to leave players out that could be in the group.
"But it's important to have this type of squad so when these moments arrive you have players.
"That's why, for me it's a challenge now, to challenge the depth of the squad and all the possibilities. And being honest I still have full confidence in my squad because we have many players in many positions that can play.
"I'm watching that, it's true with no Grant and Diangana as normally the left wingers, or Phillips we lost, but we know we can play with Swift in the left, Marc (Albrighton) in the left, Wallace in the left, even young players like for example Jovan (Malcolm) who played against Bristol (City) on the left.
"On the right you can play with Marc, Wallace, Jovan as a right winger. With a striker you have Dike, and now it's true without Asante and Grant there is one striker, Wallace can be another striker.
"These situations just increase the motivation and challenge in front of us and can create a level of increase in the commitment between the players and situation.
"I am not a pessimistic person, I believe in the effort and sacrifice and the more difficulty you have in front of you the highest motivation you have to have.
"We are watching Pieters in the first 11 because Bartley was injured and Ajayi injured at the same time. Pieters filled one gap as a left centre-back that maybe no-one was expecting in that moment.
"These are only challenges and now as a team we need to take the challenge, and as players."
Corberan said: "Or the injury of Palmer, to David (Button) and then to a player from the under-21s with Griffiths.
"Every difficulty is part of life, part of football, but we get the responsibility to try to avoid some parts.
"That's why we analyse the training with Tony (Strudwick) and the medical department, to see things we need to change or do better.
"Which type of metal or plastic boots they need to use in training, because sometimes these small things can affect the players, unfortunately Asante was feeling bad with metal and changed to plastic and unfortunately it split and made the injury in the hamstring.
"It doesn't mean you need to leave everything to a coincidence, we need to see which things we need to do better and manage better to avoid any problems.
"It's a challenging situation in a very demanding period of games, but I think this is what excites me. To me and my squad, because we want to play games and we have a squad for me full of possibilities to be a very competitive team.
"Whether we win games is not going to be the injuries, it will be if we are not managing well, we will keep growing and improving."