Carlos Corberan set for nervous wait after another 'unfair' injury for striker
Disappointed Albion boss Carlos Corberan is waiting to discover the extent of another "unfair" Josh Maja ankle injury from the defeat at Sunderland.
The striker's first Baggies start lasted just 35 minutes after he was crashed into by defender Dan Ballard - who scored the hosts' first goal on 70 minutes at the Stadium of Light.
Maja could not put any weight on his ankle, the same one he injured at Bristol City and was forced out of action for two months. Corberan said he has not seen the incident back yet but suggested TV watchers could 'make their own decision' of the incident, which many felt warranted a dismissal, and feels the situation is "unfair" on his summer recruit.
The Spaniard's visitors were deservedly beaten in the north east after Dan Neil added to Ballard's late opener with a breakaway goal after an unfortunate slip for Conor Townsend. Brandon Thomas-Asante pulled one back four minutes from time but Albion couldn't find an equaliser.
"I think that this conclusion needs to be done by everyone watching the images of the TV. I haven't done it yet, and I don't even want to look because with the Maja situation, it's something unfair for him," Corberan said.
"We signed him without a pre-season, he was little by little getting into the team. Against Bristol he received a massive foul in the box, and the referee decided against giving a penalty.
"With this foul he was eight weeks out of the team. In the last three weeks, we recover him to be ready with the team and the first time he's been put in the first XI - because Asante couldn't play more than 30 minutes under medical advice - he had another injury, in the same ankle, with a foul.
"The evaluation of the foul is something that depends on the referee and not me.
"No idea (on a timeframe). It's the same ankle that he injured in the foul against Bristol. Hopefully it's less time, but we don't know right now."
Thomas-Asante was resting a tight hamstring from after-effects of the Leicester defeats and was not given the green light to play more than 30 minutes.
Corberan added: "It's frustrating in my mind today because when I was preparing the team yesterday it was with Asante in the first XI, as the striker.
"It was from the game, the previous week, when he felt something in the hamstring. Then you don't have the option - then you can take no risks and follow very strict medical advice. It happened with Swift, and Asante here.
"I didn't speak with him, but I can imagine the feeling. After suffering the injury from the opponent, you're out for eight weeks. Then you come back, you're in the first XI for the first time and the opponent, in a foul, injures you again. Yes, very difficult for him."
Albion missed key senior figures Matt Phillips, Jed Wallace and Okay Yokuslu from the off, with Maja adding to the absentee list. Corberan felt his side started the game well with a positive 15 minutes, but suffered a confidence hit after conceding a goal - wrongly ruled out by assistant's offside flag against Jobe Bellingham - after an error from goalkeeper Alex Palmer.
"We didn't perform in the best level we have as a team. In these games we need to perform really well in attack and defence to win because I know the quality Sunderland have," Corberan said of the contest.
"In the first minutes we find a way to break their press but after a mistake in the pass from the back to Alex and they have the opportunity - with the goal disallowed - these mistakes created a lot of doubts in ourself to keep playing the game we played until that moment.
"So to me from this moment Sunderland attacked more and we defended more, in the moment we tried to press it didn't work well enough, and their pressing was creating problems for us and we couldn't get in the attacking half to unbalance.
"Their wingers created more problems too us than our wingers to them and they little by little got the confidence and energy to score the first goal, or to create the foul to score, and then after to defend.
"We tried and unfortunate suffered the accident of Townsend, he went to the floor for the second goal and after the goal of Asante was not enough too."